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NASA Picks Six Firms as Partners for Space Exploration Tech Dev’t Projects

Six companies have won contracts worth approximately $44 million combined from NASA to develop 10 technology platforms for space exploration.

NASA said Thursday it selected the proposals through its Tipping Point solicitation that seeks to address the space technology mission directorate’s three technology focus areas through public-private partnerships.

Those focus areas are the expansion of space utilization, safe and efficient transportation through space and increased access to planetary surfaces.

The space agency considers a technology at a “tipping point” if the platform demonstrates a capacity to achieve technology maturation and reach the market.

STMD will issue up to $10 million in milestone payments to each awardee under the firm-fixed-price contracts that have a performance period of up to three years.

Blue Origin has won contracts worth $13 million combined to mature sensors and cryonic liquid propulsion systems for lunar landers under the two strategic tech focus areas.

Maxar Technologies’ (NYSE: MAXR) SSL subsidiary will advance development work on electric propulsion and in-space xenon transfer capabilities under two awards with a combined value of $4 million.

United Launch Alliance will demonstrate cryogenic fluid management, integrated vehicle fluids and mid-air retrieval capabilities through three contracts worth approximately $14 million in total.

Frontier Aerospace will pursue flight demonstration of its deep space engine through a $1.9 million award, while Paragon Space Development will further develop its proposed Cryogenic Encapsulating Launch Shroud and Insulated Upper Stage system through a $1.6 million contract.

Astrobotic Technology has received a $10 million contract to continue development work on a sensor suite for planetary landing missions.

NASA said each award recipient will shoulder a minimum of 25 percent of the project’s total cost.

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