NASA selected 26 proposals Sept. 21 from academia and industry for advanced development activities on the Space Launch System, the heavy-lift rocket the agency is building for manned missions beyond low Earth orbit.

NASA plans to spend up to $48 million on the selected proposals. Initial funding will be limited to $8 million for the 14 industry awards and $2.5 million for the 12 academia awards. The winners will enter negotiations with NASA for one-year contracts with up to two one-year options.

“While we are moving out on the initial 70-metric-ton configuration of the vehicle, we will continue to examine concepts, designs and options that will advance the rocket to a 130-metric-ton vehicle, which is essential for deep space exploration,” SLS Program Manager Todd May said in a statement.

Among the selected companies are ATK Space Systems, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boeing Co., Moog, Northrop Grumman Corp., Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and United Launch Alliance. Smaller firms include ATA Engineering, Reynolds Systems, Sierra Lobo and Streamline Numerics.

Among the academic winners, Mississippi State University, the University of Florida and the University of Maryland each had two proposals selected. Other winners included Louisiana State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Utah.