NASA has chosen Dynetics, HRL Laboratories and Orbital ATK to develop and build ultra-lightweight materials in support of efforts to reduce the mass of future spacecraft for deep-space missions by 40 percent.
The agency said Tuesday the companies will work to manufacture ULW core panels that are 12-by-12-by-1-inch in size as part of the 13-month, $550,000 awards for the first phase of the program.
“Lightweight and multifunctional materials and structures are one of NASA’s top focus areas capable of having the greatest impact on future NASA missions in human and robotic exploration,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate.
“These advanced technologies are necessary for us to be able to launch stronger yet lighter spacecraft and components as we look to explore an asteroid and eventually Mars.”
NASA selected HRL Laboratories’ “Ultralight Micro-truss Cores for Space Launch Systems” proposal, Orbital ATK’s “Game Changing Technology Development Program Ultra-Light Weight Core Materials for Efficient Load Bearing Composite Sandwich Structures” proposal and Dynetics’ “Ultra-Lightweight Core Materials for Efficient Load-Bearing Composite Sandwich Structures” proposal.
These proposed technologies will be evaluated to determine which will move forward to receive the 18-month, $2 million phase-two awards.