NASA Selects 8 Universities to Participate in Small Spacecraft Projects

NASA University PartnerNASA has chosen eight university teams to work with the agency’s engineers and scientists on two-year projects to develop new small spacecraft technologies.

The space agency said Saturday these collaborations aim to create small, lightweight spacecraft that could support science, exploration and space operations.

NASA chose from a variety of submitted proposals on enhanced power generation and storage, crosslinking communications systems, relative navigation for multiple small spacecraft as well as instruments and sensors for small spacecraft science missions.

The selected universities include:

  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • University of Miami
  • University of California
  • University of Florida
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Arizona State University
  • University of Michigan

NASA added that the universities will receive an annual funding of up to $100,000 under the cooperative agreement with the space agency.

The teams will have the opportunity to work with local NASA experts at Goddard Space Flight Center, Ames Research Center, Glenn Research Center, Kennedy Space Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This is the third round of projects under the NASA space technology mission directorate’s Smallsat Technology Partnerships initiative managed by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program.

“There is a vibrant small spacecraft community within America's universities, and with this initiative NASA seeks to continue and increase our collaboration with that community,“ said Andrew Petro, NASA’s program executive for the Small Spacecraft Technology Program.

He added that NASA will share its experience in space research and technology to the universities as they work to develop new ideas and technologies.

The Small Spacecraft Technology Program works to utilize the new functions and features of small spacecrafts for NASA’s science, exploration and space missions and as a platform for testing and demonstrating new technologies that could be used for various sizes of spacecraft and systems.

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