NASA Eyes New Deep-Space Tech R&D Partnerships

International-Space-StationNASA has released a second request for proposals in search of more companies to help the agency research and develop deep-space habitation systems, advanced propulsion technologies and small satellites.

The agency said Wednesday it seeks “evolvable” approaches to long-duration habitation by astronauts and aims to build full-size habitat prototypes by 2018.

Companies, nonprofit organizations and universities interested in the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 initiative can submit their R&D proposals electronically through June 15,  according to an agency notice posted Tuesday on FedBizOpps.

NASA formed 12 industry partnerships under the original NextSTEP program in March 2015 to explore space and human exploration technologies for the agency’s future cislunar space and Mars exploration missions.

Ad Astra Rocket Co., Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE: AJRD) and MSNW will focus on developing advanced propulsion systems under the first NextSTEP program.

Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing (NYSE: BA), Dynetics, Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA) and Orbital Technologies Corp. will work on space habitat platforms to support the Orion crew capsule.

NASA also picked Lockheed and Morehead State University to help build cubesats for the Space Launch System’s Exploration Mission-1.

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