NASA has awarded five companies $2.4 million in combined funds to study power and propulsion technologies that can support the development of a solar electric propulsion platform for deep space missions.
The studies will help NASA identify requirements and reduce risk for a 50 kilowatt-class SEP system that will support human missions into deep space, the agency said Thursday.
The research efforts are also intended to clarify technical differences between previous SEP-powered mission concepts and NASA’s new deep space gateway concept, which the agency is currently studying in collaboration with U.S. industry and space station partners.
NASA issued the awards through the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships broad agency announcement.
The awardees are:
- Lockheed Martin
- Orbital ATK
- Sierra Nevada Corp.
- Space Systems Loral