24 Experimental Payloads Picked for Suborbital Flights

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NASA has picked 24 space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable suborbital launch vehicles, balloons and a commercial parabolic aircraft, the agency announced March 21.

The rides, but not the payloads themselves, will be funded by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, which is budgeted at $10 million this year.

“NASA is not funding development for the payloads, but will be providing the flight and integration services for the selected payloads,” NASA spokesman David Steitz said.

Six of the payloads, which range from a cloud-imaging sensor to a cryogenic fuel line chilldown experiment, will fly on reusable suborbital launch vehicles from Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, UP Aerospace and Virgin Galactic.

Sixteen of the chosen payloads will fly on parabolic flights operated by Zero Gravity Corp.’s specially equipped airplanes. Three of the payloads will ride on high-altitude balloons operated by Near Space Corp.