NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected seven space technology payloads for flights on commercial, parabolic or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new space technologies. These flights provide a valuable platform to mature cutting-edge technologies, validating feasibility and reducing technical risks and costs before infusion into multiple future space missions. 

This selection represents the first Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion (REDDI) Appendix F1 cycle of the original 2014 NASA Research Announcement. With this selection the total number of technologies selected for test flights facilitated by the Flight Opportunities Program of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is raised to 150. 

Six of these new payloads will ride on parabolic aircraft flights, which provide brief periods of weightlessness. One will fly on a suborbital reusable launch vehicle flight. The flights are expected to take place in 2015 and 2016, and will be purchased by the selectees using grants negotiated with the program. The selectees have proposed flights on both Zero-G Corporation and Integrated Spaceflight Services parabolic aircraft and Masten Space Systems’ suborbital reusable launch vehicle.

The payload selected for flight on a suborbital reusable launch vehicle is:

“Demonstration of One-Fault Tolerant Precision Navigation for Autolanding on Airless Bodies: Flight Two,” PI Kevin Peterson of Astrobotic Technology, Inc., in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The payloads selected for flight on parabolic aircraft are:

“Microgravity fabrication of freeze-cast titanium foams,” Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. David Dunand of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

“Modal Propellant Gauging in Microgravity,” PI Dr. Kevin Crosby of Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“Flight Demonstration and Performance Evaluation of a Variable Vector Countermeasure Suit (V2Suit) Module,” PI Dr. Kevin Duda of Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Droplet Pinning in Microgravity,” PI Dr. Amir Hirsa of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, New York.

“Advancing Diaphragm Modeling Technology for Propellant Management,” PI Dr. Steven Collicott of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana

“Low-Gravity Flow Boiling on Modern Textured Surfaces,” PI Dr. Steven Collicott of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

In NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, officials have been working with commercial companies, universities and government organizations to coordinate testing of innovative space technologies on research flights through the use of commercial suborbital flight platforms.

The Flight Opportunities Program is managed at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, California. NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, manages the solicitation and selection of technologies to be tested and demonstrated on commercial flight vehicles. For more information on the Flight Opportunities program, visit:

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions. Over the next 18 months, the directorate will make significant new investments that address several high priority challenges for achieving safe and affordable deep-space exploration. For more information about NASA’s investment in space technology, visit:

For more information, contact:

Leslie Williams 

Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.