NASA has chosen 10 companies to build platforms designed to gather, process and utilize space-based resources for lunar and Mars missions.
The agency said Friday the companies will receive contracts worth approximately $10 million combined to perform work across three tracks as part of Appendix D of the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 program.
Appendix D focuses on the development of in-situ resource utilization technologies designed to process and extract water and other resources from extraterrestrial soils for use in future space exploration missions.
Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, United Technologies Corp.’s aerospace systems business and the University of Illinois, Urbana, were selected for the first track to conduct one-year studies to assess the potential integration of ISRU technologies into space mission architectures.
BlazeTech, Paragon Space Development, Skyhaven Systems and Teledyne Energy Systems will focus on the NextSTEP-2 program’s Track 2 that will deal with component development and testing work in simulated space environments.
NASA selected Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms and OxEon Energy for Track 3 that will focus on the development and testing of subsystems in simulated environments.
“We are continuing to learn about our Moon and the value its resources can provide for human exploration,” said Jason Crusan, director of advanced exploration systems at NASA.
“If we can find smart ways to harness its resources now, those capabilities will help shape our long-term exploration goals, including partnership and commercial opportunities with and for U.S. industry,” he added.