2 NASA-Backed Research Institutes Aim to Develop Space Tech Platforms for Long-Duration Missions

NASA has picked two proposals to establish research institutes that will work on space technology platforms designed to extend human presence in long-duration exploration missions.

The agency will award each Space Technology Research Institute up to $15 million in funds over five years to develop technology platforms in the areas of space infrastructure and biomanufacturing in an effort to sustain exploration mission capabilities, NASA said Friday.

The Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space is one of the STRIs that will conduct research on a biomanufacturing platform designed to help astronauts produce food, fuel, materials and pharmaceuticals they need during deep space exploration missions.

Adam Arkin, principal investigator at the University of California in Berkeley, will lead the CUBES team.

UC Berkeley will partner with Autodesk and Physical Sciences as well as Stanford University, Utah State University and University of California in Davis on the CUBES project.

Gregory Odegard, principal investigator at the Michigan Technological University, will lead the Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design that seeks to develop and field a carbon nanotube-based structural material for use in the design of future habitats, transit vehicles and other space structures.

The US-COMP team consists of Solvay, Nanocomp Technologies, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, MIT, Johns Hopkins University, Georgia Tech, Florida State University, Florida A&M University, University of Utah, Pennsylvania State University, University of Minnesota, Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Colorado.

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