Appendix A:  NASA Mission Directorates and Center Alignment

NASA’s Mission to drive advances in science, technology, aeronautics, and space exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, economic vitality, and stewardship of Earth, draws support from four Mission Directorates, nine NASA Centers, and JPL, each with a specific responsibility.

A.1 Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)

Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) conducts high-quality, cutting-edge research and flight tests that generate innovative concepts, tools, and technologies to enable revolutionary advances in our Nation’s future aircraft, as well as in the airspace in which they will fly.


NASA Aeronautics is partnering with industry and academia to accomplish the aviation community’s aggressive carbon reduction goals. Through collective work in three areas -- advanced vehicle technologies, efficient airline operations and sustainable aviation fuels – NASA, in partnership with the aviation community, aims to reduce carbon emissions from aviation by half by 2050, compared to 2005, and potentially achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.

ARMD’s current major missions include:


Additional information on the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) can be found at: and in ARMD’s Strategic Implementation plan that can be found at:


Areas of Interest - POC: Dave Berger,


Proposers are directed to the following:

  • ARMD Programs:
  • The ARMD current year version of the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) entitled, "Research Opportunities in Aeronautics (ROA)” is posted on the NSPIRES web site at (Key word: Aeronautics). This solicitation provides a complete range of ARMD research interests.

A.2 Exploration Systems Development and Space Operations Mission Directorates (ESDMD and SOMD)

The Exploration Systems Development and Space Operations Mission Directorates (ESDMD and SOMD) provides the Agency with leadership and management of NASA space operations related to human exploration in and beyond low-Earth orbit. Through the Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. NASA is collaborating with commercial and international partners to establish the first long-term human-robotic presence on and around the Moon. Then, we will use what we learn on and at the Moon to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.

The Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD) defines and manages systems development for programs critical to the NASA’s Artemis program and planning for NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach in an integrated manner. ESDMD manages the human exploration system development for lunar orbital, lunar surface, and Mars exploration. ESDMD leads the human aspects of the Artemis activities as well as the integration of science into the human system elements. ESDMD is responsible for development of the lunar and Mars architectures. Programs in the mission directorate include Orion, Space Launch System, Exploration Ground Systems, Gateway, Human Landing System, and Extravehicular Activity (xEVA) and Human Surface Mobility. Additional information about the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate can be found at:

The Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) manages NASA’s current and future space operations in and beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO), including commercial launch services to the International Space Station. SOMD operates and maintains exploration systems, develops and operates space transportation systems, and performs broad scientific research on orbit. In addition, SOMD is responsible for managing the space transportation services for NASA and NASA-sponsored payloads that require orbital launch, and the agency's space communications and navigation services supporting all NASA’s space systems currently in orbit. Additional information on the Space Operations Mission Directorate can be found at: .

Areas of Interest - POC: Marc Timm,

Human Research Program

The Human Research Program (HRP) is focused on investigating and mitigating the highest risks to human health and performance to enable safe, reliable, and productive human space exploration. The HRP budget enables NASA to resolve health risks for humans to safely live and work on missions in the inner solar system. HRP conducts research, develops countermeasures, and undertakes technology development to address human health risks in space and ensure compliance with NASA's health, medical, human performance, and environmental standards. 

Engineering Research

  • Spacecraft: Guidance, navigation, and control; thermal; electrical; structures; software; avionics; displays; high speed re-entry; modeling; power systems; interoperability/commonality; advanced spacecraft materials; crew/vehicle health monitoring; life support.
  • Propulsion: Propulsion methods that will utilize materials found on the moon or Mars, “green” propellants, on-orbit propellant storage, motors, testing, fuels, manufacturing, soft landing, throttle-able propellants, high performance, and descent.
  • Robotic Systems for Lunar Precursor Missions:  Precision landing and hazard avoidance hardware and software; high-bandwidth communication; in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and prospecting; navigation systems; robotics (specifically environmental scouting prior to human arrival, and to assist astronaut with surface exploration); environmental analysis, radiation protection; small payloads to accomplish science and research objectives, as well as for risk reduction for human-rated systems
  • Data and Visualization Systems for Exploration: Area focus on turning precursor mission data into meaningful engineering knowledge for system design and mission planning of lunar and Mars surfaces; visualization and data display; interactive data manipulation and sharing; modeling of lighting and thermal environments; simulation of environmental interactions for pressurized and unpressurized vehicles, and
  • Research and technology development areas in ESDMD and SOMD support exploration systems development including in-space vehicles, space communications, commercial space, and the International Space Station. Examples of research and technology development areas (and the associated lead NASA Center) with great potential include:
  • Research and technology development areas in ESDMD and SOMD support exploration systems development including in-space vehicles, space communications, commercial space, and the International Space Station. Examples of research and technology development areas (and the associated lead NASA Center) with great potential include:
  • Processing and Operations 
    • Crew Health and Safety Including Medical Operations (Johnson Space Center (JSC)
    • In-helmet Speech Audio Systems and Technologies (JSC)  
    • Vehicle Integration and Ground Processing (Kennedy Space Center (KSC)) 
    • Mission Operations (JSC) 
    • Portable Life Support Systems (JSC)
    • Pressure Garments and Gloves (JSC)
    • Air Revitalization Technologies (ARC)
    • In-Space Waste Processing Technologies (JSC)
    • Cryogenic Fluids Management Systems (MSFC)
  • Space Communications and Navigation
  • Coding, Modulation, and Compression (Goddard Spaceflight Center (GSFC))
  • Precision Spacecraft & Lunar/Planetary Surface Navigation and Tracking (GSFC)
  • Communication for Space-Based Range (GSFC)  
  • Antenna Technology (Glenn Research Center (GRC)) 
  • Reconfigurable/Reprogrammable Communication Systems (GRC)
  • Miniaturized Digital EVA Radio (JSC)  
  • Transformational Communications Technology (GRC) 
  • Long Range Optical Telecommunications (Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL))  
  • Long Range Space RF Telecommunications (JPL) 
  • Surface Networks and Orbit Access Links (GRC)  
  • Software for Space Communications Infrastructure Operations (JPL)
  • TDRS transponders for launch vehicle applications that support space communication and launch services (GRC)
  • Space Transportation 
    • Optical Tracking and Image Analysis (KSC GSFC
    • Space Transportation Propulsion System and Test Facility Requirements and Instrumentation (Stennis Space Center (SSC)  
    • Automated Collection and Transfer of Launch Range Surveillance/Intrusion Data (KSC)
    • Technology tools to assess secondary payload capability with launch vehicles (KSC)
    • Spacecraft Charging/Plasma Interactions (Environment definition & arcing mitigation) (Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
  • Commercial Space Capabilities
    • The goal of this area is to support research, development, and commercial adoption of technologies of interest to the U.S. spaceflight industry to further their space-related capabilities. (KSC)
    • These include capabilities for Moon, Mars, and Earth orbit. Such efforts are in pursuit of the goals of the National Space Policy and NASA’s strategic plans, to foster developments that will lead to education and job growth in science and engineering, and spur economic growth as capabilities for new space markets are created. (KSC)
    • S. commercial spaceflight industry interests naturally vary by company. Proposers are encouraged to determine what those interests are by engagement with such companies in various ways, and such interests may also be reflected in the efforts of various NASA partnerships. (KSC)
    • Proposals should discuss how the effort aligns with U.S. commercial spaceflight company interest(s) and identify potential alignments with NASA interests. (KSC)



A.2.1 Office of Chief Health and Medical Officer (OCHMO)

Areas of Research Interest:

POC: Dr Victor Schneider, P: 202.258.3645

POC2: Dr James D. Polk; E:, P: 202.358.1959


  • Development and elaboration of Functional aids and testing paradigms to measure activity for use by parastronauts during spaceflight. This may include egressing and exiting space capsules and donning and doffing spacesuits and other aids for parastronauts. The European Space Agency is establishing a parastronaut feasibility project. Since NASA offers its international partners access to NASA supported spacecraft and the International Space Station, NASA wants to establish appropriate functional testing measures to determine the time it takes fit astronaut-like subjects compared to fit parastronaut subjects to egress and exit simulated space capsules and simulated donning and doffing spacesuit. Research proposals are sought to establish appropriate functional testing.


  • Evaluation space capsule and spacesuit activity in stable and fit lower or upper extremity amputees and compare their responses to non-amputee fit individuals. The European Space Agency is establishing a parastronaut feasibility project. Since NASA offers its international partners access to NASA supported spacecraft and the International Space Station, NASA wants to obtain research data measuring the time it takes fit astronaut-like subjects compared to fit parastronaut subject to egress and exit simulated space capsules and simulated donning and doffing spacesuit. Research proposals are sought to obtain data measuring the functional testing indicated


A.2.2 Human Research Program/Space Radiation Element

POC:    Elgart, S Robin (JSC-SK4) [IPA] <>, (281)244-0596


Research Overview:

Space radiation exposure is one of numerous hazards astronauts encounter during spaceflight that impact human health. High priority health outcomes associated with space radiation exposure are carcinogenesis, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and central nervous sytem (CNS) changes that impact astronaut health and performance.




Areas of Research Interest:

  1. Research proposals are sought toaccelerate risk characterization for high priority radiation health risks and inform mitigation strategies the NASA Human Research Program (HRP) Space Radiation Element (SRE) by sharing animal tissue samples and data. The proposed work should focus is on translational studies that support priority risk characterization (cancer, CVD, CNS), development of relative biological effectiveness (RBE) values, identification of actionable biomarkers, and evaluation of dose thresholds for relevant radiation-associated disease endpoints. Cross-species comparative analyses of rodent data/samples with higher order species (including human archival data and tissue banks) are highly encouraged.


  1. Research proposals are sought to define the mechanisms underlying sexual dimorphism following exposure to space radiation. Research should focus on translational biomarkers relevant to changes in cognitive and/or behavioral performance, cardiovascular function, and the development of carcinogenesis in non-sex-specific organs. Due to limited time and budget, researchers are encouraged to utilize radiation sources located at home institutions at space relevant doses (0-5 Gy of photons or proton irradiation). A successful proposal will not necessitate the use of the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at Brookhaven National Laboratory at this phase. Collaborations between investigators and institutions for the sharing of data and tissue samples are highly encouraged. Samples available for use by SRE, can be found at by searching “NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL)” in the payloads field (SRE approval required). Instructions for accessing the tissue sharing information are posted at: Other topics include:
    • Individual sensitivity
    • Early disease detection (Cancer, CVD, neurological/behavioral conditions)
    • Biomarker identification
    • High-throughput countermeasure screening
    • Sex-specific risk assessment
    • Radiation quality and/or dose-rate effects


  1. Research proposals are sought to establish screening techniques for compound-based countermeasures to assess their efficacy in modulating biological responses to radiation exposure relevant to the high priority health risks of cancer, CVD, and/or CNS.Techniques that can be translated into high-throughput screening protocols are highly desired, however high-content protocols will also be considered responsive.


  1. Research proposals are sought to evaluate the role of the inflammasome in the pathogenesis of radiation-associated cardiovascular disease (CVD), carcinogenesis, and/or central nervous system changes that impact behavioral and cognitive function. Although innate inflammatory immune responses are necessary for survival from infections and injury, dysregulated and persistent inflammation is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of various acute and chronic conditions in humans, including CVD. A main contributor to the development of inflammatory diseases involves activation of inflammasomes. Recently, inflammasome activation has been increasingly linked to an increased risk and greater severity of CVD. Characterization of the role of inflammasome-mediated pathogenesis of disease after space-like chronic radiation exposure can provide evidence to better quantify space radiation risks as well as identify high value for countermeasure development.

A.3 Science Mission Directorate (SMD)

Science Mission Directorate (SMD) leads the Agency in five areas of research: Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS), Heliophysics, Earth Science, Planetary Science, and Astrophysics. SMD, using the vantage point of space to achieve with the science community and our partners a deep scientific understanding of our planet, other planets and solar system bodies, the interplanetary environment, the Sun and its effects on the solar system, and the universe beyond. In so doing, we lay the intellectual foundation for the robotic and human expeditions of the future while meeting today's needs for scientific information to address national concerns, such as climate change and space weather. SMD's high-level strategic objectives are presented in the 2018 NASA Strategic Plan. Detailed plans by science area corresponding to the science divisions of SMD: Heliophysics, Earth Science, Planetary Science, and Astrophysics appear in SCIENCE 2020-2024: A Vision for Scientific Excellence (the 2020 Science Plan)", which is available at The best expression of specific research topics of interest to each Division within SMD are represented in by the topics listed in SMD's "ROSES" research solicitation, see ROSES-2022 and the text in the Division research overviews of ROSES, i.e.:

Astrophysics Research Program Overview

Biological and Physical Sciences Research Overview

Earth Science Research Overview

Heliophysics Research Program Overview

Planetary Science Research Program Overview and

Cross Division Research Overview.

Proposers may find a list of all of the currently solicited topics in Table 3 of ROSES-2022 at


Please note, even if a particular topic is not solicited in ROSES this year, if it was solicited in ROSES recently, it is still a topic of interest and eligible for this solicitation. Additional information about the Science Mission Directorate may be found at:


SMD POC: Kristen Erickson


A.3.1 Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS)

In July 2020, NASA's biological and physical sciences research was transferred from the Space Life and Physical Sciences Research & Applications (SLPSRA) Division in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) into the Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) Division in the Science Mission Directorate (SMD). 


The mission of BPS is two-pronged:

  • Pioneer scientific discovery in and beyond low Earth orbit to drive advances in science, technology, and space exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, and economic vitality
  • Enable human spaceflight exploration to expand the frontiers of knowledge, capability, and opportunity in space


Execution of this mission requires both scientific research and technology development.


BPS administers NASA's:

  • Space Biology Program, which solicits and conducts research to understand how biological systems accommodate to spaceflight environments
  • Physical Sciences Program, which solicits and conducts research to understand how physical systems respond to spaceflight environments, particularly weightlessness


BPS partners with the research community and a wide range of organizations to accomplish its mission. Grants to academic, commercial and government laboratories are the core of BPS’s research and technology development efforts.


Additional information on BPS can be found at:


Space Biology Program

The Space Biology Program within NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division focuses on pioneering scientific discovery and enabling human spaceflight exploration. Research in space biology has the following goals:

  • To effectively use microgravity, radiation, and the other characteristics of the space environment to enhance our understanding of fundamental biological processes. 
  • To develop the scientific and technological foundations for a safe, productive human presence in space for extended periods and in preparation for exploration.
  • To apply this knowledge and technology to improve our nation's competitiveness, education, and the quality of life on Earth. 


Physical Science Program

The Physical Science Research Program conducts fundamental and applied research to advance scientific knowledge, to improve space systems, and to advance technologies that may produce new products offering benefits on Earth. Research in physical sciences spans from basic and applied research in the areas of: 

  • Fluid physics: two-phase flow, boiling, condensation, heat pipes, capillary and interfacial phenomena; cryogenic fluid storage and transfer
  • Combustion science: spacecraft fire safety, solids, liquids and gasses, transcritical combustion, supercritical reacting fluids, and soot formation; 
  • Materials science: solidification in metal and alloys, crystal growth, electronic materials, glasses and ceramics, granular materials, extraction of material from regoliths; 
  • Soft Condensed Matter: colloidal systems, emulsions, liquid crystals, polymer flows, foams and granular flows, and complex plasmas;  
  • Fundamental physics: space optical/atomic clocks, quantum test of equivalence principle, theory supporting space-based experiments in quantum entanglement, decoherence, cold atom physics.



A.3.2 Heliophysics Division

Heliophysics encompasses science that improves our understanding of fundamental physical processes throughout the solar system, and enables us to understand how the Sun, as the major driver of the energy throughout the solar system, impacts our technological society. The scope of heliophysics is vast, spanning from the Sun's interior to Earth’s upper atmosphere, throughout interplanetary space, to the edges of the heliosphere, where the solar wind interacts with the local interstellar medium. Heliophysics incorporates studies of the interconnected elements in a single system that produces dynamic space weather and that evolves in response to solar, planetary, and interstellar conditions.

The Agency’s strategic objective for heliophysics is to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth and the solar system, including space weather. The heliophysics decadal survey conducted by the National Research Council (NRC), Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (, articulates the scientific challenges for this field of study and recommends a slate of design reference missions to meet them, to culminate in the achievement of a predictive capability to aid human endeavors on Earth and in space. The fundamental science questions are:

  • What causes the Sun to vary?
  • How do the geospace, planetary space environments and the heliosphere respond?
  • What are the impacts on humanity?

To answer these questions, the Heliophysics Division implements a program to achieve three overarching goals:

  • Explore the physical processes in the space environment from the Sun to the Earth and throughout the solar system
  • Advance our understanding of the connections that link the Sun, the Earth, planetary space environment, and the outer reaches of our solar system
  • Develop the knowledge and capability to detect and predict extreme conditions in space to protect life and society and to safeguard human and robotic explorers beyond Earth

Further information on the objectives and goals of NASA's Heliophysics Program may be found in the 2014 Science Plan and Our Dynamic Space Environment: Heliophysics Science and Technology Roadmap for 2014-2033 (download PDF). The Heliophysics research program is described in Chapter 4.1 of the SMD Science Plan 2014 available at The program supports theory, modeling, and data analysis utilizing remote sensing and in situ measurements from a fleet of missions; the Heliophysics System Observatory (HSO). Frequent CubeSats, suborbital rockets, balloons, and ground-based instruments add to the observational base. Investigations that develop new observables and technologies for heliophysics science are sought. 

Supported research activities include projects that address understanding of the Sun and planetary space environments, including the origin, evolution, and interactions of space plasmas and electromagnetic fields throughout the heliosphere. The program seeks to characterize these phenomena on a broad range of spatial and temporal scales, to understand the fundamental processes that drive them, to understand how these processes combine to create space weather events, and to enable a capability for predicting future space weather events. 

The program supports investigations of the Sun, including processes taking place throughout the solar interior and atmosphere and the evolution and cyclic activity of the Sun. It supports investigations of the origin and behavior of the solar wind, energetic particles, and magnetic fields in the heliosphere and their interaction with the Earth and other planets, as well as with the interstellar medium. 

The program also supports investigations of the physics of magnetospheres, including their formation and fundamental interactions with plasmas, fields, and particles and the physics of the terrestrial mesosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere, and auroras, including the coupling of these phenomena to the lower atmosphere and magnetosphere. Proposers may also review the information in the ROSES-21 Heliophysics Research Program Overview for further information about the Heliophysics Research Program.


A.3.3 Earth Science Division 

The overarching goal of NASA's Earth Science program is to develop a scientific understanding of Earth as a system. The Earth Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate ( contributes to NASA's mission, in particular, Strategic Objective 1.1: Understanding The Sun, Earth, Solar System, And Universe. This strategic objective is motivated by the following key questions: 

  • How is the global Earth system changing? 
  • What causes these changes in the Earth system? 
  • How will the Earth system change in the future? 
  • How can Earth system science provide societal benefit?


These science questions translate into seven overarching science goals to guide the Earth Science Division’s selection of investigations and other programmatic decisions: 

  • Advance the understanding of changes in the Earth’s radiation balance, air quality, and the ozone layer that result from changes in atmospheric composition (Atmospheric Composition) 
  • Improve the capability to predict weather and extreme weather events (Weather)
  • Detect and predict changes in Earth’s ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles, including land cover, biodiversity, and the global carbon cycle (Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems)
  • Enable better assessment and management of water quality and quantity to accurately predict how the global water cycle evolves in response to climate change (Water and Energy Cycle)
  • Improve the ability to predict climate changes by better understanding the roles and interactions of the ocean, atmosphere, land and ice in the climate system (Climate Variability and Change)
  • Characterize the dynamics of Earth’s surface and interior, improving the capability to assess and respond to natural hazards and extreme events (Earth Surface and Interior)
  • Further the use of Earth system science research to inform decisions and provide benefits to society

In applied sciences, the ESD encourages the use of data from NASA’s Earth-observing satellites and airborne missions to tackle tough challenges and develop solutions that improve our daily lives. Specific areas of interest include efforts that help institutions and individuals make better decisions about our environment, food, water, health, and safety (see In technological research, the ESD aims to foster the creation and infusion of new technologies – such as data processing, interoperability, visualization, and analysis as well as autonomy, modeling, and mission architecture design – in order to enable new scientific measurements of the Earth system or reduce the cost of current observations (see The ESD also promotes innovative development in computing and information science and engineering of direct relevance to ESD. NASA makes Earth observation data and information widely available through the Earth Science Data System program, which is responsible for the stewardship, archival and distribution of open data for all users

The Earth Science Division (ESD) places particular emphasis on the investigators' ability to promote and increase the use of space-based remote sensing through the proposed research. Proposals with objectives connected to needs identified in most recent Decadal Survey (2017-2027) from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, Thriving on our Changing Planet: A Decadal Strategy for Earth Observation from Space are welcomed. (see 

NASA's ability to view the Earth from a global perspective enables it to provide a broad, integrated set of uniformly high-quality data covering all parts of the planet. NASA shares this unique knowledge with the global community, including members of the science, government, industry, education, and policy-maker communities. 


A.3.4 Planetary Science Division

The Planetary Science Research Program, managed by the Planetary Science Division, sponsors research that addresses the broad strategic objective to "Ascertain the content, origin, and evolution of the Solar System and the potential for life elsewhere." To pursue this objective, the Planetary Science Division has five science goals that guide the focus of the division's science research and technology development activities. As described in Chapter 4.3 of the SMD 2014 Science Plan (, these are:

  • Explore and observe the objects in the Solar System to understand how they formed and evolve.
  • Advance the understanding of how the chemical and physical processes in the Solar System operate, interact and evolve.
  • Explore and find locations where life could have existed or could exist today.
  • Improve our understanding of the origin and evolution of life on Earth to guide our search for life elsewhere.
  • Identify and characterize objects in the Solar System that pose threats to Earth or offer resources for human exploration.

In order to address these goals, the Planetary Research Program invites a wide range of planetary science and astrobiology investigations. Example topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Investigations aimed at understanding the formation and evolution of the Solar System and (exo) planetary systems in general, and of the planetary bodies, satellites, and small bodies in these systems; 
  • Investigations aimed at understanding materials present, and processes occurring, in the early stages of Solar System history, including the protoplanetary disk;
  • Investigations aimed at understanding planetary differentiation processes;
  • Investigations of extraterrestrial materials, including meteorites, cosmic dust, presolar grains, and samples returned by the Apollo, Stardust, Genesis, and Hayabusa missions;
  • Investigations of the properties of planets, satellites (including the Moon), satellite and ring systems, and smaller Solar System bodies such as asteroids and comets;
  • Investigations of the coupling of a planetary body’s intrinsic magnetic field, atmosphere, surface, and interior with each other, with other planetary bodies, and with the local plasma environment;
  • Investigations into the origins, evolution, and properties of the atmospheres of planetary bodies (including satellites, small bodies, and exoplanets);
  • Investigations that use knowledge of the history of the Earth and the life upon it as a guide for determining the processes and conditions that create and maintain habitable environments and to search for ancient and contemporary habitable environments and explore the possibility of extant life beyond the Earth;
  • Investigations into the origin and early evolution of life, the potential of life to adapt to different environments, and the implications for life elsewhere;
  • Investigations that provide the fundamental research and analysis necessary to characterize exoplanetary systems;
  • Investigations related to understanding the chemistry, astrobiology, dynamics, and energetics of exoplanetary systems;
  • Astronomical observations of our Solar System that contribute to the understanding of the nature and evolution of the Solar System and its individual constituents;
  • Investigations to inventory and characterize the population of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) or mitigate the risk of NEOs impacting the Earth;
  • Investigations into the potential for both forward and backward contamination during planetary exploration, methods to minimize such contamination, and standards in these areas for spacecraft preparation and operating procedures;
  • Investigations which enhance the scientific return of NASA Planetary Science Division missions through the analysis of data collected by those missions;
  • Advancement of laboratory- or spacecraft-based (including small satellites, e.g., CubeSats) instrument technology that shows promise for use in scientific investigations on future planetary missions; and
  • Analog studies, laboratory experiments, or fieldwork to increase our understanding of Solar System bodies or processes and/or to prepare for future missions.

Additional information on technologies needed to support NASA Planetary Science Division missions may be found on the Planetary Exploration Science Technology Office website.


Proposers may also review the information in the ROSES-2021 Planetary Science Research Program Overview for further information about the Planetary Science Research Program. The use of NASA Research Facilities is available to supported investigators (see Appendix C section 4.3). If their use is anticipated, this use must be discussed and justified in the submitted proposals and include a letter of support from the facility (or resource) confirming that it is available for the proposed use during the proposed period.


A.3.5 Astrophysics Division

NASA's strategic objective in astrophysics is to discover how the universe works, explore how it began and evolved, and search for life on planets around other stars. Three broad scientific questions flow from this objective:

  • How does the universe work?
  • How did we get here?
  • Are we alone?


Each of these questions is accompanied by a science goal that shapes the Astrophysics Division’s efforts towards fulfilling NASA's strategic objective:

  • Probe the origin and destiny of our universe, including the nature of black holes, dark energy, dark matter and gravity
  • Explore the origin and evolution of the galaxies, stars and planets that make up our universe
  • Discover and study planets around other stars, and explore whether they could harbor life


To address these Astrophysics goals, the Astrophysics Research Analysis and Technology Program invites a wide range of astrophysics science investigations from space that can be broadly placed in the following categories.

(i)         The development of new technology covering all wavelengths and fundamental particles, that can be applied to future space flight missions. This includes, but is not limited to, detector development, and optical components such as primary or secondary mirrors, coatings, gratings, filters, and spectrographs.

(ii)       New technologies and techniques that may be tested by flying them on suborbital platforms such as rockets and balloons that are developed and launched by commercial suborbital flight providers or from NASA’s launch range facilities, or by flying them on small and innovative orbital platforms such as cubesats.

(iii)     Studies in laboratory astrophysics. Examples of these studies could include atomic and molecular data and properties of plasmas explored under conditions approximating those of astrophysical environments.

(iv)      Theoretical studies and simulations that advance the goals of the astrophysics program

(v)       Analysis of data that could lead to original discoveries from space astrophysics missions. This could include the compilations of catalogs, statistical studies, algorithms and pattern recognition, artificial intelligence applications, development of data pipelines, etc.

(vi)      Citizen Science programs, which are a form of open collaboration in which individuals or organizations participate voluntarily in the scientific process, are also invited. The current SMD Policy ( on citizen science describes standards for evaluating proposed and funded SMD citizen science projects. For more information see the webpage, that provides information about existing SMD-funded projects.

(vii)    NASA astrophysics will follow recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 (Astro2020) currently in progress, which will define new directions regarding mission development, science priorities and future investments (see at:

Investigations submitted to the Astrophysics research program should explicitly support past, present, or future NASA astrophysics missions. These investigations can include theory, simulation, data analysis, and technology development. The Astrophysics research program and missions are described in Chapter 4.4 of the SMD 2014 Science Plan available at


A.4 The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is responsible for developing the crosscutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.


STMD rapidly develops, demonstrates, and infuses revolutionary, high-payoff technologies through transparent, collaborative partnerships, expanding the boundaries of the aerospace enterprise. STMD employs a merit-based competition model with a portfolio approach, spanning a range of discipline areas and technology readiness levels. By investing in bold, broadly applicable, disruptive technology that industry cannot tackle today, STMD seeks to mature the technology required for NASA’s future missions in science and exploration while proving the capabilities and lowering the cost for other government agencies and commercial space activities.


Research and technology development takes place within NASA Centers, at JPL, in academia and industry, and leverages partnerships with other government agencies and international partners. STMD engages and inspires thousands of technologists and innovators creating a community of our best and brightest working on the nation’s toughest challenges. By pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation, STMD allows NASA and our nation to remain at the cutting edge. Additional information on STMD can be found

at:  ( ).



Areas of Interest – POC:  Damian Taylor,



STMD looks to engage new and diverse partners in order to garner different perspectives and approaches to our biggest technology challenges. An overarching principle guiding STMD’s work is our commitment to inspiring and developing a diverse and powerful US aerospace technology community. As part of our strategic approach, STMD is committed to empowering innovators by expanding our work with and supported for underrepresented communities. Furthermore, we are focused on demonstrating engaging practices for underserved and underrepresented communities through the R&D process that strengthens and supports economic growth for a diverse technology community.


STMD plans future investments to support the following strategic thrusts:

  • Go: Rapid, Safe, & Efficient Space Transportation
    • Develop nuclear technologies enabling fast in-space transits.
    • Develop cryogenic storage, transport, and fluid management technologies for surface and in-space applications.
    • Develop advanced propulsion technologies that enable future science/exploration missions.
  • Land: Expanded Access to Diverse Surface Destinations
    • Enable Lunar/Mars global access with ~20t payloads to support human missions.
    • Enable science missions entering/transiting planetary atmospheres and landing on planetary bodies.
    • Develop technologies to land payloads within 50 meters accuracy and avoid landing hazards.
  • Live: Sustainable Living and Working Farther from Earth
    • Develop exploration technologies and enable a vibrant space economy with supporting utilities and commodities.
      • Sustainable power sources and other surface utilities to enable continuous lunar and Mars surface operations.
      • Scalable ISRU production/utilization capabilities including sustainable commodities on the lunar & Mars surface.
      • Technologies that enable surviving the extreme lunar and Mars environments.
      • Autonomous excavation, construction & outfitting capabilities targeting landing pads/structures/habitable buildings utilizing in situ resources.
    • Enable long duration human exploration missions with Advanced Life Support & Human Performance technologies.
  • Explore: Transformative Missions and Discoveries
    • Develop next generation high performance computing, communications, and navigation.
    • Develop advanced robotics and spacecraft autonomy technologies to enable and augment science/exploration missions.
    • Develop technologies supporting emerging space industries including: Satellite Servicing & Assembly, In Space/Surface Manufacturing, and Small Spacecraft technologies.
    • Develop vehicle platform technologies supporting new discoveries.
    • Develop transformative technologies that enable future NASA or commercial missions and discoveries
  • Lead: Ensuring American global leadership in Space Technology
    • Advance US space technology innovation and competitiveness in a global context
    • Encourage technology driven economic growth with an emphasis on the expanding space economy
    • Inspire and develop a diverse and powerful US aerospace technology community


Current space technology topics of particular interest include:


  • Methods for space and in-space manufacturing
  • Autonomous in-space assembly of structures and spacecraft
  • Ultra-lightweight materials for space applications
  • Materials, structures and mechanisms for extreme environments (low and high temperatures, radiation, abrasive dust, etc.).
  • Resource prospecting, mining, excavation, and extraction of in-situ resources. Efficient in-situ resource utilization to produce items required for long-duration deep space missions including fuels, water, oxygen, food, nutritional supplements, pharmaceuticals, building materials, polymers (plastics), and various other chemicals
  • High-performance space computing
  • Smart habitats
  • Extreme environment (including cryogenic) electronics for planetary exploration
  • Advanced robotics for extreme environment sensing, mobility, manipulation and repair
  • Advanced power generation, storage, and distribution for deep space missions and surface operations
  • Advanced entry, descent, and landing systems for planetary exploration including modeling with uncertainty quantification
  • Radiation modeling, detection and mitigation for deep space crewed missions
  • Biological approaches to environmental control, life support systems and manufacturing
  • Autonomous systems for deep space missions
  • Low size, weight, and power components for small spacecraft including high-bandwidth communication from space to ground, inter-satellite communication, relative navigation and control for swarms and constellations, precise pointing systems, power generation and energy storage, thermal management, system autonomy, miniaturized instruments and sensors, and in-space propulsion
  • Technologies that take advantage of small launch vehicles and small spacecraft to conduct more rapid and lower-cost missions
  • Advancements in engineering tools and models that support Space Technology advancement and development
  • Lunar dust –mitigation techniques and dust behavior modeling
  • High temperature radiators
  • High temperature coatings
  • Excavation, construction, and outfitting for the lunar surface, particularly methodologies and technologies to provide site clearing, roads with autonomous navigation aids, landing pads/berms, plume surface interaction mitigations and assembly of structures such as towers or buildings.


In recognition of NASA’s leadership in developing advanced technologies for the benefit of all, research topics related to advancing national capabilities in the following climate-related technology areas are of interest:


  • Clean Energy and Emissions Technologies: Clean energy and emissions mitigation technology projects focusing on the research and development, demonstration, or deployment of systems, processes, best practices, and sources that reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emitted to, or concentrated in, the atmosphere.


  • S. Climate Change Research Program: Earth-observing capabilities to support breakthrough science and National efforts to address climate change.
    • Specific topic areas could include:
  • Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs)
    • Fuel Cells
    • Batteries and Energy Storage
    • Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage
    • Processes that enhance industrial efficiency and reduce emissions
    • Production of clean energy including solar, hydrogen, nuclear, or other clean energy sources
  • Enabling platforms and early-stage instruments for climate-relevant science observations



Applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy (replaced the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmaps) and the NASA Strategic Technology Integration Framework ( that most closely aligns with their space technology interests. The 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy may be downloaded at the following link:


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) current year version of the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) entitled, "Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion” has been posted on the NSPIRES web site at (select “Solicitations” and then “Open Solicitations”). The NRA provides detailed information on specific proposals being sought across STMD program. Specifically, STMD supports research from universities through a number of other solicitations from early stage programs such as NASA Innovations Advanced Concepts, Space Technology Research Grants, and Small Business Technology Transfer. Additionally, here’s a link to other STMD program opportunities that potentially could benefit from university research ideas.

A.5 NASA Centers Areas of Interest

“Engagement with Center Chief Technologists and the Agency Capability Leadership Teams is critical to value of the research and selection of proposals.”  Examples of Center research interest areas include these specific areas from the following Centers.  If no POC is listed in the Center write-up and contact information is needed, please contact the POC listed in Appendix D for that Center and request contacts for the research area of interest.

A.5.1 Ames Research Center (ARC)

POC: Harry Partridge,    

  • Entry systems: Safely delivering spacecraft to Earth & other celestial bodies
  • Advanced Computing & IT Systems: Enabling NASA's advanced modeling and simulation
    • Supercomputing
    • Quantum computing, quantum sensors and quantum algorithms
    • Applied physics and Computational materials
  • Aero sciences
    • Wind Tunnels: Testing on the ground before you take to the sky
  • Air Traffic Management
  • Astrobiology and Life Science: Understanding life on Earth - and in space
  • Cost-Effective Space Missions: Enabling high value science to low Earth orbit & the moon
    • Small Satellites, Cube satellites
  • Intelligent/Adaptive Systems: Complementing humans in space
    • Autonomy & Robotics: Enabling complex air and space missions, and complementing humans in space
    • Human Systems Integration: Advancing human-technology interaction for NASA missions
    • Nanotechnology-electronics and sensors, flexible electronics
  • Space and Earth Science: Understanding our planet, our solar system and everything beyond
    • Exoplanets: Finding worlds beyond our own
    • Airborne Science: Examining our own world & beyond from the sky
    • Lunar Sciences: Rediscovering our moon, searching for water

A.5.2 Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC)

POC: Timothy Risch,

  • Hybrid Electric Propulsion
    (POC: Sean Clarke, AFRC-540)
  • Supersonic Research (Boom mitigation and measurement)
    (POC: Ed Haering, AFRC-520)
  • Supersonic Research (Laminar Flow)
    (POC: Dan Banks, AFRC-520)
  • Hypersonic Structures & Sensors
    (POC: Larry Hudson, AFRC-560)
  • Control of Flexible Structures, Modeling, System Identification, Advanced Sensors
    (POC: Matt Boucher, Jeff Ouellette, AFRC-530)
  • Autonomy (Collision Avoidance, Perception, and Runtime Assurance)
    (POC: Nelson Brown, AFRC-530)
  • Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Vehicle Handling and Ride Qualities
    (POC: Curt Hanson, AFRC-530)
  • Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Envelope Protection
    (POC: Shawn McWherter, AFRC-530)
  • Aircraft Electrical Powertrain Modeling
    (POC: Peter Suh, AFRC-530, Kurt Kloesel, AFRC-520)
  • Un-crewed Aerial Platforms for Earth and Planetary Science Missions
    (POC: Bruce Cogan, AFRC-570) 


A.5.3 Glenn Research Center (GRC), POC: Kurt Sacksteder,  or Mark David Kankam, Ph.D.  


Research and technology, and engineering engagements comprise including:


  • Acoustics / Propulsion Acoustics
  • Advanced Energy (Renewable Wind and Solar, Coal Energy and Alternative Energy)
  • Advanced Microwave Communications
  • Networks, Architectures and Systems Integration
  • Intelligent Systems-Smart Sensors and Electronic Systems Technologies
  • Aeronautical and Space Systems Analysis
  • Electrified Aircraft
  • Computer Systems and Networks
  • Electric (Ion) Propulsion
  • Fluid and Cryogenic Systems / Thermal Systems
  • Growth of Ice on Aircraft
  • Aviation Safety Improvements
  • Instrumentation, Controls and Electronics
  • Fluids, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Turbomachinery
  • Materials and Structures, including Mechanical Components and Lubrication
  • Mechanical and Drive Systems (Shape Memory Alloys-Base Actuation)
  • Computational Modeling
  • Microgravity Fluid Physics, Combustion Phenomena and Bioengineering
  • Nanotechnology
  • Photovoltaics, Electrochemistry-Physics, and Thermal Energy Conversion
  • Propulsion System Aerodynamics
  • Power Architecture, Generation, Storage, Distribution and Management
  • Urban Air Mobility (UAM)
  • Systems Engineering


The above engagement areas relate to the following key Glenn Areas of Expertise:

  • Aircraft Propulsion
  • Communications Technology and Development
  • Space Propulsion and Cryogenic Fluids Management
  • Power, Energy Storage and Conversion
  • Materials and Structures for Extreme Environment
  • Physical Sciences and Biomedical Technologies in Space



A.5.4 Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC),

POC: Heather Bradshaw,  or James L. Harrington,



Engineering and Technology Directorate: POC: Danielle Margiotta,

  • Advanced Manufacturing- facilitates the development, evaluation, and deployment of efficient and flexible additive manufacturing technologies. (ref: org)
  • Advanced Multi-functional Systems and Structures- novel approaches to increase spacecraft systems resource utilization
  • Micro - and Nanotechnology - Based Detector Systems- research and application of these technologies to increase the efficiency of detector and optical systems
  • Ultra-miniature Spaceflight Systems and Instruments- miniaturization approaches from multiple disciplines - materials, mechanical, electrical, software, and optical - to achieve substantial resource reductions
  • Systems Robust to Extreme Environments- materials and design approaches that will preserve designed system properties and operational parameters (e.g. mechanical, electrical, thermal), and enable reliable systems operations in hostile space environments.
  • Spacecraft Navigation Technologies
    • Spacecraft GNSS receivers, ranging crosslink transceivers, and relative navigation sensors
    • Optical navigation and satellite laser ranging
    • Deep-space autonomous navigation techniques
    • Software tools for spacecraft navigation ground operations and navigation analysis
    • Formation Flying
  • Automated Rendezvous and Docking (AR&D) techniques
    • Algorithm development
    • Pose estimation for satellite servicing missions
    • Sensors (e.g., LiDARs, natural feature recognition)
    • Actuation (e.g., micro propulsion, electromagnetic formation flying)
  • Mission and Trajectory Design Technologies 
    • Mission design tools that will enable new mission classes (e.g., low thrust planetary missions, precision formation flying missions)
    • Mission design tools that reduce the costs and risks of current mission design methodologies
    • Trajectory design techniques that enable integrated optimal designs across multiple orbital dynamic regimes (i.e. earth orbiting, earth-moon libration point, sun-earth libration point, interplanetary) 
  • Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control Technologies
    • Modeling, simulation, and advanced estimation algorithms
    • Advanced spacecraft attitude sensor technologies (e.g., MEMS IMU’s, precision optical trackers)
    • Advanced spacecraft actuator technologies (e.g. modular and scalable momentum control devices, ‘green’ propulsion, micropropulsion, low power electric propulsion)
  • CubeSats- Participating institutions will develop CubeSat/Smallsat components, technologies and systems to support NASA technology demonstration and risk reduction efforts. Student teams will develop miniature CubeSat/Smallsat systems for: power generation and distribution, navigation, communication, on-board computing, structures (fixed and deployable), orbital stabilization, pointing, and de-orbiting.  These components, technologies and systems shall be made available for use by NASA for integration into NASA Cubesat/Smallsats. They may be integrated into complete off-the-shelf “CubeSat/Smallsat bus” systems, with a goal of minimizing “bus” weight/power/volume/cost and maximizing available “payload” weight/power/volume.  NASA technologists will then use these components/systems to develop payloads that demonstrate key technologies to prove concepts and/or reduce risks for future Earth Science, Space Science and Exploration/Robotic Servicing missions. POC:  Thomas P. Flatley (
  • On-Orbit Multicore Computing- High performance multicore processing for advanced automation and science data processing on spacecraft. There are multiple multicore processing platforms in development that are being targeted for the next generation of science and exploration missions, but there is little work in the area of software frameworks and architectures to utilize these platforms. It is proposed that research in the areas of efficient inter-core communications, software partitioning, fault detection, isolation & recovery, memory management, core power management, scheduling algorithms, and software frameworks be done to enable a transition to these newer platforms. Participating institutions can select areas to research and work with NASA technologists to develop and prototype the resulting concepts.  POC:  Alan Cudmore (
  • Integrated Photonic components and systems-  Integrated photonic components and systems for Sensors, Spectrometers, Chemical/biological sensors, Microwave, Sub-millimeter and Long-Wave Infra-Red photonics, Telecom- inter and intra satellite communications.  
  • Quantum sensors and quantum networking
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Radiation Effects and Analysis
    • Flight validation of advanced event rate prediction techniques
    • New approaches for testing and evaluating 3-D integrated microcircuits and other advanced microelectronic devices
    • End-to-end system (e.g., integrated component level or higher) modeling of radiation effects
    • Statistical approaches to tackle radiation hardness assurance (i.e., total dose, displacement damage, and/or single-event effects) for high-risk, low-cost missions.
  • Model Based System Engineering (MBSE)


Sciences and Exploration DirectoratePOC:  Blanche Meeson,

The Sciences and Exploration Directorate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center ( is the largest Earth and space science research organization in the world. Its scientists advance understanding of the Earth and its life-sustaining environment, the Sun, the solar system, and the wider universe beyond.  All are engaged in the full life cycle of satellite missions and instruments from concept development to implementation, analysis and application of the scientific information, and community access and services.

  • The Earth Sciences Division plans, organizes, evaluates, and implements a broad program of research on our planet's natural systems and processes. Major focus areas include climate change, severe weather, the atmosphere, the oceans, sea ice and glaciers, and the land surface. To study the planet from the unique perspective of space, the Earth Science Division develops and operates remote-sensing satellites and instruments. We analyze observational data from these spacecraft and make it available to the world's scientists and policy makers.     The Division conducts extensive field campaigns to gather data from the surface and airborne platforms.  The Division also develops, uses, and assimilates observations into models that simulate planetary processes involving the water, energy, and carbon cycles at multiple scales up to global.  POC:  Eric Brown de Colstoun (
  • The Astrophysics Science Division conducts a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and fundamental physics. Individual investigations address issues such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which planets outside our solar system may harbor life, and the nature of space, time, and matter at the edges of black holes. Observing photons, particles, and gravitational waves enables researchers to probe astrophysical objects and processes. Researchers develop theoretical models, design experiments and hardware to test theories, and interpret and evaluate observational data.  POC:  Rita Samburna (
  • The Heliophysics Science Division conducts research on the Sun, its extended solar-system environment (the heliosphere), and interactions of Earth, other planets, small bodies, and interstellar gas with the heliosphere. Division research also encompasses Geospace, Earth's magnetosphere and its outer atmosphere, and Space Weather—the important effects that heliospheric disturbances have on spacecraft and terrestrial systems. Division scientists develop spacecraft missions and instruments, systems to manage and disseminate heliophysical data, and theoretical and computational models to interpret the data. Possible heliophysics-related research include:  advanced software environments and data-mining strategies to collect, collate and analyze data relevant to the Sun and its effects on the solar system and the Earth (“space weather”); and advanced computational techniques, including but not limited to parallel architectures and the effective use of graphics processing units, for the simulation of magnetized and highly dynamic plasmas and neutral gases in the heliosphere.  POC:  Doug Rabin (
  • The Solar System Exploration Division builds science instruments and conducts theoretical and experimental research to explore the solar system and understand the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Laboratories within the division investigate areas as diverse as astrochemistry, planetary atmospheres, extrasolar planetary systems, earth science, planetary geodynamics, space geodesy, and comparative planetary studies. To study how planetary systems form and evolve, division scientists develop theoretical models and experimental research programs, as well as mission investigations and space instruments to test them. The researchers participate in planetary and Earth science missions, and collect, interpret, and evaluate measurements.  POC:  Brook Lakew (
  • Quantum sensors and quantum networking: Quantum computing is based on quantum bits or qubits. Unlike traditional computers, in which bits must have a value of either zero or one, a qubit can represent a zero, a one, or both values simultaneously. Representing information in qubits allows the information to be processed in ways that have no equivalent in classical computing, taking advantage of phenomena such as quantum tunneling and quantum entanglement. As such, quantum computers may theoretically be able to solve certain problems in a few days that would take millions of years on a classical computer.  POC: Mike Little (
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning: POCs: Mark Carroll ( across the entire organization and in Heliophysics Barbara Thompson (


  • (Big) data analytics: Data Analytics, including Data Mining and Pattern Recognition for Science applications and with special emphasis on:
    • Quantification of uncertainty in inference from big data
    • Experiment design to create data that is AI/ML ready and robust against misleading correlations
    • Methods for prediction of new discovery spaces
    • Strength of evidence and reproducibility in inference from big data   

POC: Mark Carroll ( 


Scientists in all four divisions publish research results in the peer-reviewed literature, participate in the archiving and public dissemination of scientific data, and provide expert user support.


A.5.5 Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),

POC: Fred Y. Hadaegh, 


Solar System characteristics and origin of life

Primitive (1) solar systems bodies

Lunar (9) science

Preparing for returned sample investigations 


  • Earth Science
    Atmospheric composition and dynamics (Atmospheric Dynamics

Land and solid earth processes (Solid Earth Processes

Water and carbon cycles, Carbon Cycles, Water Cycles

Ocean and ice

Earth analogs to planets, Earth Analog

Climate Science


Gravitational astrophysics and fundamental physics

Extra-solar planets: Exoplanets; Star formation; Planetary formation

Solar and Space Physics

Formation and evolution of galaxies; Formation Galaxies; Evolution



Non-chemical propulsion

Advanced propulsion technologies

Supporting technologies

Thermal Electric Propulsion

Electric Propulsion


Energy storage

Power management & distribution

Cross-cutting technologies

Solar power, Photovoltaic






Manipulation technology

Human-systems interfaces


Autonomous rendezvous & docking

Systems engineering


Virtual reality


Computer Aided


Radio frequency communications, Radio Technologies


Position navigation and timing

Integrated technologies

Revolutionary concepts

Communication technology



Remote Sensing


Science Instruments, Observatories and Sensor Systems
Science Mission Directorate Technology Needs

Remote Sensing instruments/Remote Sensing Sensors

Observatory technologies

In-situ instruments, Sensor technologies


In situ technologies

Instrument technologies

Precision frequency

Precision timing


  • Entry, Descent and Landing Systems
    Aerobraking, Aerocapture and entry system; Descent; Engineered materials; Energy generation and storage; Propulsion; Electronics, devices, and sensors





Orbital Mechanics




Other Research Areas


Small Satellite

Small Satellite Technologies


Radio Science


Advanced High Temperature



Plasma Physics


Ground Data Systems



High Energy Astrophysics

Solar physics

Interstellar Astrophysics

Interstellar Medium


Astro bio geochemistry

Life Detection

Cosmo chemistry

Adaptive Optics

Artificial Intelligence 



A.5.6 Johnson Space Center (JSC)

POC: Linda Ham,  


Active Thermal Control

  • Condensing heat exchanger coatings with robust hydrophilic, antimicrobial properties
  • Development and demonstration of wax and water-based phase change material heat exchangers
  • Lightweight heat exchangers and cold plates



  • Advancements in Carbon Dioxide Reduction
  • Habitation systems that minimize consumables
  • Human thermal modeling
  • Low toxicity hygiene and cleaning products and methods



  • Portable Life Support System
  • Power, Avionics and Software
  • Pressure Garment


Entry, Descent, and Landing

  • Innovative, Groundbreaking, and High Impact Developments in Spacecraft GN&C Technologies
  • Deployable Decelerator Technologies
  • High-Fidelity Parachute Fluid/Structure Interaction
  • Mechanical Reefing Release Mechanism for Parachutes
  • Next Generation Parachute Systems & Modeling
  • Precision Landing & Hazard Avoidance Technologies
  • Regolith – Rocket Plume Interaction: In-situ Measurements to Enable Multiple Landings at the Same Site
  • Optical / Vision-Based Navigation for EDL Applications
  • Sensors, including those embedded in thermal protection systems and proximity operations and landing
  • Additive Manufacturing for Thermal Protection Systems
  • Advanced Materials and Instrumentation for Thermal Protection Systems
  • Predictive Material Modeling


Power Distribution and Control

  • Lightweight, radiation tolerant cables and spools for Lunar/Mars surface power
  • Dust tolerant electrical connectors
  • Radiation hard power convertors.


Energy Storage technologies

  • Batteries, Regenerative Fuel cells
  • High energy, long-life fuel cell membranes


In-Situ Resource Utilization

  • Lunar/Mars regolith processing and water-ice mining (Regolith collection, delivery, regolith processing, and drying; Water separation and capture, water cleanup and processing, water electrolysis)
  • Mars atmosphere processing (CO2 collection; Dust filtering; Solid Oxide CO2 electrolysis; Sabatier; Reverse water gas shift)
  • Methane/Oxygen liquefaction and storage
  • ISRU regolith processing simulation and modeling


In-space propulsion technologies

  • Human rated in-space propulsion systems (storable and cryogenic)
  • EVA-IVA compatible miniature propulsion systems (including CubeSat)
  • Propellant transfer and refueling
  • Propellant gauging


Pyrotechnic device development and test

  • Miniature pyrovalves
  • Low energy, long duration pyrotechnic devices

Autonomy and Robotics

  • Biomechanics
  • Crew Exercise
  • Human Robotic interface
  • Autonomous Vehicle Systems/Management
  • Data Mining and Fusion
  • Robotics and TeleRobotics
  • Simulation and modeling


Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking - Next generation In-space docking systems concepts addressing challenges of mass, environments, flight operations and including long duration missions, consider:

  • New Rendezvous & Docking strategies ie;, greater vehicle reliance vs kinetic energy, addressing vehicle capabilities, sensors, etc…
  • Simplification of soft capture system attenuation; less complex and lighter systems
  • Docking independent LRU strategies vs Integrated vehicle solution
  • Seals and sealing technology
  • Consumables transfer technology (power, data, water, air, fluids)
  • Maintenance


Surface Docking System Concepts addressing:

  • System design and interfaces
  • Environment’s tolerance including long duration exposure


Computer Human Interfaces (CHI)

·         CHI - Human System Integration

  • Human Computer Interaction design methods (Multi-modal and Intelligent Interaction) and apparatuses
  • Human Systems Integration, Human Factors Engineering: state of the art in Usability,workload, and performance assessment methods and apparatus.
  • Inclusion of Human Readiness Level into HSI
  • Humans Systems Integration Inclusion in Systems Engineering
  • Human-in-the-loop system data acquisition and performance modeling
  • Trust computing methodology


·         CHI - Informatics

  • Crew decision support systems
  • Advanced Situation Awareness Technologies
  • Intelligent Displays for Time-Critical Maneuvering of Multi-Axis Vehicles
  • Intelligent Response and Interaction System
  • Exploration Space Suit (xEMU) Informatics
  • Graphic Displays to Facilitate Rapid Discovery, Diagnosis and Treatment of Medical Emergencies
  • CHI machine learning methods and algorithms
  • Imaging and information processing
  • Audio system architecture for Exploration Missions


·         CHI - Audio

  • Array Microphone Systems and processing
  • Machine-learning front end audio processing
  • Audio Compression algorithms implementable in FPGAs.
  • COMSOL Acoustic modeling
  • Front end audio noise cancellation algorithms implementable in FPGAs-example Independent Component Analysis
  • Large bandwidth (audio to ultra-sonic) MEMs Microphones
  • Sonification Algorithms implementable in DSPs/FPGAs
  • Far-Field Speech Recognition in Noisy Environments


·         CHI - Imaging and Display

  • Lightweight/low power/radiation tolerant displays
  • OLED Technology Evaluation for Space Applications
  • Radiation tolerant Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)
  • Scalablecomplex electronics & software-implementable graphics processing unit
  • Radiation-Tolerant Imagers
  • Immersive Imagery capture and display
  • H265 Video Compression
  • Ultra High Video Compressions
  • A Head Mounted Display Without Focus/Fixation Disparity
  • EVA Heads-Up Display (HUD) Optics


Wearable Technology

  • Tattooed Electronic Sensors
  • Wearable Audio Communicator
  • Wearable sensing and hands-free control
  • Wearable Sensors and Controls
  • Wearable digital twin/transformation sensor systems


Wireless and Communications Systems

  • Computational Electromagnetics (CEM) Fast and Multi-Scale Methods/Algorithms
  • EPCglobal-type RFID ICs at frequencies above 2 G
  • Radiation Hardened EPCglobal Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Readers
  • Radiation robust 3GPP network technologies
  • Robust, Dynamic Ad hoc Wireless Mesh Communication Networks
  • Wireless Energy Harvesting Sensor Technologies
  • Flight and Ground communication systems


Radiation and EEE Parts

  • Mitigation and Biological countermeasures
  • Monitoring
  • Protection systems
  • Risk assessment modeling
  • Space weather prediction


Linda Ham

Exploration Integration and Science Directorate

NASA Johnson Space Center



A.5.7 Kennedy Space Center (KSC)

POC Delvin VanNorman,  or Jose Nunez,  

  • HEOMD – Commercial Crew systems development and ISS payload and flight experiments
  • Environmental and Green Technologies
  • Health and Safety Systems for Operations
  • Communications and Tracking Technologies
  • Robotic, automated, and autonomous systems and operations
  • Payload Processing & Integration Technologies (all class payloads)
  • R&T Technologies on In-Space Platforms (e.g., ISS, Gateway, Human Habitats)
  • Damage-resistant and self-healing materials
  • Plant Research and Production
  • Water/nutrient recovery and management
  • Plant habitats and Flight Systems
  • Food production and waste management
  • Robotic, automated, and autonomous food production
  • Robotic, automated, and autonomous food production
  • Damage-resistant and self-healing materials
  • Automated and autonomous detection and repair
  • Propulsion: Chemical Propulsion flight integration (human transportation)
  • Space Environments Test: Right/West Altitude Chamber
  • Launch technologies including propellant management, range & communications
  • Vehicle, payload and flight science experiment integration and testing
  • Landing & recovery operations
  • Biological sciences (Plant research & production)
  • Destination systems including ISRU, surface construction & dust mitigation
  • Autonomous/robotic (unmanned) surface systems and operations
  • Water resource utilization technologies
  • Logistics reduction technologies



  1. The above R&T Focus Areas are described in the KSC R&T Portfolio Data Dictionary


A.5.8 Langley Research Center (LaRC)

Langley Research Center (LaRC), POC: Neyda Abreu,


Topic 1: Intelligent Flight Systems & Trusted Autonomy: (POC: “Mike” Fremaux -

Research in areas of advanced air mobility, increasingly automated and autonomous systems, robotics, and “smart cities” to enable current and future NASA missions and maintain U.S. aerospace preeminence.  Development and validation of new architectures, technologies, and operations for increasingly complex and increasingly autonomous aerospace systems is accomplished by:

  • Enabling robust control, vehicle performance, and mission management under nominal and off-nominal conditions
  • Ensuring robust and flexible human-machine integration and teaming
  • Advancing technologies for vehicle and system-autonomy, robotics, and flight vehicle environment awareness
  • Developing new methods and tools for the verification, validation, and safety assurance of complex and autonomous systems
  • Developing, maintaining, and utilizing experimental ground and flight test facilities and labs


Topic 2: Advanced Materials, Manufacturing Technologies & Structural Systems: (POC: Chris Wohl

  • Rapid, scalable additive manufacturing
  • Materials for extreme environments
  • Materials manufacturing and characterization in extreme environments
  • Computational modeling of the manufacturing process influence on metallic microscale and bulk properties
  • Computational modeling of polymer synthesis, processing, and additive manufacturing
  • Multifunctional materials supporting electric aircraft
  • Composite materials supporting green aviation
  • Process monitoring during composites fabrication
  • Materials systems supporting Human Landing System (HLS) and Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) objectives


Topic 3: Measurement Systems - Advanced Sensors and Optical Diagnostics (POC: “Tony” Humphreys -

  • Detectors and focal planes for Low Earth Orbit observing platforms
  • Electronics for both flight platforms and ground test facilities
  • Optical components including adaptive optics based on phase change materials
  • Microwave, millimeter, and sub-millimeter wave detection systems
  • Weather sensors for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) applications
  • Custom laser designs (wavelengths, pulse durations, etc.) for remote sensing and ground facility test applications
  • Flow visualization methods for high-speed ground test facilities (supersonic to hypersonic)
  • High spatial and temporal resolution velocimetry measurements, both seeded and seedless
  • Cryogenic and thermal sensors for ground test facilities
  • Non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods for crewed vehicle structural health
  • Automated non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods and systems utilizing machine learning


Topic 4: Entry, Descent & Landing (POC: Ron Merski –

  • Advanced EDL architecture approaches
  • Advanced EDL vehicle concepts – small spacecraft
  • EDL systems analysis (empirical performance assessment tools, packaging)
  • Aero-assist technologies -- Aerocapture concepts
  • Aero maneuvering technologies – trim tabs, morphing, RCS, magneto-hydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Decelerator technologies – ballutes, parachutes, supersonic retro-propulsion, hypersonic inflatable aerodecelerators (HIADs)
  • High end computing for EDL modeling -- GPUs
  • Flight mechanics and GNC methods
  • Atmospheric model development
  • Computational fluid dynamics methods and modeling
  • Rarefied flow computations -- DSMC
  • Complex fluid dynamics characterization -- plume surface interaction, supersonic retro-propulsion, RCS
  • Unsteady aerodynamics measurement approaches
  • Wind tunnel (subsonic, transonic, supersonic, hypersonic) aero and aeroheating instrumentation, flow characterization methods (MDOE), and testing approaches
  • Entry systems structures, composites manufacturing and testing methods
  • Landing system concepts
  • Ultra-precise velocity and ranging methods -- lidar
  • Flight test instrumentation and low-cost data acquisition
  • Flight data reconstruction
  • Uncertainty quantification


Topic 5: Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheric Sciences: (POC: Allen Larar -

  • Measurements of aerosols, water vapor, trace gases, cloud properties, and winds,
  • Addressing air quality, chemistry,
  • Radiation budget
  • Climate change


Topic 6: Innovative Concepts for Earth and Space Science Measurements: (POC: Allen Larar -

  • Advanced active and passive remote sensing and in-situ sensors including LiDAR, radiometers, spectrometers, and interferometers.





A.5.9 Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)

POC: John Dankanich,  and

These Principal Technologists and System Capability Leads are available for consultation with proposers regarding the state-of-the-art, on-going activities and investments, and strategic needs in their respective areas of expertise. Proposers are encouraged to consult with the appropriate PT or SCLT early in the proposal process.




Technology Area

NASA Email


Danette Allen

Autonomous Systems


Shaun Azimi



Jim Broyan

ECLSS1 Deputy

John Carson

EDL Precision Landing; HPSC2


Scott Cryan

Rendezvous & Capture


John Dankanich

In Space Transportation


Terry Fong

Autonomous Systems


Robyn Gatens



Julie Grantier

In Space Transportation


Mark Hilburger



Michael Johansen

Dust Mitigation


Julie Kleinhenz

In Situ Resource Utilization


Angela Krenn

Thermal Technologies


Ron Litchford

Propulsion Systems


Jason Mitchell

Communications & Navigation


Michelle Munk

Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL)


Bo Naasz

Rendezvous & Capture


Denise Podolski



Wes Powell



Jerry Sanders

In Situ Resource Utilization


John Scott

Space Power & Energy Storage


John Vickers

Advanced Manufacturing


Sharada Vitalpur

Communications & Navigation


Arthur Werkheiser

Cryofluid Management


Mike Wright

Entry, Descent and Landing





Propulsion Systems


  • Launch Propulsion Systems, Solid & Liquid
  • In Space Propulsion (Cryogenics, Green Propellants, Nuclear, Fuel Elements, Solar-Thermal, Solar Sails, Tethers)
  • Propulsion Testbeds and Demonstrators (Pressure Systems)
  • Combustion Physics
  • Cryogenic Fluid Management
  • Turbomachinery
  • Rotordynamics
  • Solid Propellant Chemistry
  • Solid Ballistics
  • Rapid Affordable Manufacturing of Propulsion Components
  • Materials Research (Nano Crystalline Metallics, Diamond Film Coatings)
  • Materials Compatibility
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Unsteady Flow Environments
  • Acoustics and Stability
  • Low Leakage Valves


Space Systems


  • In Space Habitation (Life Support Systems and Nodes, 3D Printing)
  • Mechanical Design & Fabrication
  • Small Payloads (For International Space Station, Space Launch System)
  • In-Space Asset Management (Automated Rendezvous & Capture, De-Orbit, Orbital Debris Mitigation, Proximity Operations)
  • Radiation Shielding
  • Thermal Protection
  • Electromagnetic Interference
  • Advanced Communications
  • Small Satellite Systems (CubeSats)
  • Structural Modeling and Analysis
  • Spacecraft Design (CAD)


Space Transportation


  • Mission and Architecture Analysis
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Space Environmental Effects and Space Weather
  • Lander Systems and Technologies
  • Small Spacecraft and Enabling Technologies (Nanolaunch Systems)
  • 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing/Rapid Prototyping
  • Meteoroid Environment
  • Friction Stir and Ultrasonic Welding
  • Advanced Closed-Loop Life Support Systems
  • Composites and Composites Manufacturing
  • Wireless Data & Comm. Systems
  • Ionic Liquids
  • Guidance, Navigation and Control (Autonomous, Small Launch Vehicle)
  • Systems Health Management
  • Martian Navigation Architecture/Systems
  • Planetary Environment Modeling
  • Autonomous Systems (reconfiguration, Mission Planning)
  • Digital Thread / Product Lifecycle Management (for AM and/or Composites)
  • Material Failure Diagnostics




  • Replicated Optics
  • Large Optics (IR, visible, UV, X-Ray)
  • High Energy Astrophysics (X-Ray, Gamma Ray, Cosmic Ray)
  • Radiation Mitigation/Shielding
  • Gravitational Waves and their Electromagnetic Counterparts
  • Solar, Magnetospheric and Ionospheric Physics
  • Planetary Geology and Seismology
  • Planetary Dust, Space Physics and Remote Sensing
  • Surface, Atmospheres and Interior of Planetary Bodies
  • Earth Science Applications
  • Convective and Severe Storms Research
  • Lightning Research
  • Data Informatics
  • Disaster Monitoring
  • Energy and Water Cycle Research
  • Remote Sensing of Precipitation

A.5.10 Stennis Space Center (SSC),

POC: Dr. Ramona Travis,


Intelligent Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) for Ground and Space Applications

Integrated system health management (ISHM) encompasses a unified approach of assessing the current and future state of a system’s health and considers a system integrated interdependencies with other systems within a framework of available resources, concepts of operations, and operational demands.

ISHM not only considers the current health state of systems, but also the health across a system’s entire life cycle. Both system health data and usage data are used to analyze and  identify the behavior unique to a system, as well as help identify trends in degradation over time and estimate remaining useful life. In this context, SSC is interested in methodologies to assess the health of ground and space systems that will play a role in  enabling lunar sustainability *e.g., fluid, electrical, power, thermal, propulsion, GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) and life support; required for ground facilities, spacecraft, rovers, habitats and landers.

Expected outcomes of EPSCoR research could include the following: (1) to develop monitoring and diagnostic capabilities that use intelligent models to monitor and document the operation of the system;  (2) to develop monitoring and prognostics capabilities that use  intelligent models to assess the life cycle of the system; (3) to develop architectures/taxonomies/ontologies for integrated system health management using distributed intelligent elements; and (4) to develop user and operator interfaces, both visual and voice, that enable ease of use for ISHM capability.

Autonomous Operations Capability for Ground and Space Applications

HEOMD has identified numerous capability gaps in the current state of the art for implementing autonomous operations. Autonomous operations are critical capabilities required for the future of NASA exploration and space missions. Autonomous operations inherently involve high levels of intricacy and cost, and these issues become exponentially compounded by increasing complexity of system design for operations in space, for operations on surfaces beyond earth, in harsh environmental conditions, and operations of systems at communication distances that limit human involvement.

Therefore, to enable sustainability for Artemis exploration and space operations, unprecedented levels of autonomy will be required to successfully accomplish planned mission objectives. Furthermore, to enabling autonomous operational capabilities, trust in these systems needs to be established.

In this context, SSC is interested in exploring challenges associated with implementing intelligent hierarchical distributed autonomous systems for Artemis capabilities required for lunar habitation and exploration; and on foundations for implementing trusted autonomous space systems.

Expected outcomes of an EPSCOR research project could include the following: (1) to develop technologies that enable trusted autonomy and autonomous space systems;  (2) to develop technologies that enable hierarchical distributed autonomy; (3) to develop technologies that enable on-board autonomy whereby observation, analysis, decisions, and execution of tasks are done by the systems themselves; and (4) to develop technologies for user interfaces with autonomous systems.

Advanced Propulsion Test Technology Development

Rocket propulsion development is enabled by rigorous ground testing to mitigate the propulsion system risks that are inherent in spaceflight. This is true for virtually all propulsive devices of a space vehicle including liquid and solid rocket propulsion, chemical and nonchemical propulsion, boost stage, in-space propulsion, and so forth. This area of interest seeks to develop advanced ground test technology components and system level ground test systems that enhance chemical and advanced propulsion technology development and certification while substantially reducing the costs and improving safety/reliability of NASA's test and launch operations.  At present, focal areas of interest are:

  • Tools using computational methods to accurately model and predict system performance, that integrate simple interfaces with detailed design and/or analysis software, are required. Stennis Space Center (SSC) is interested in improving capabilities and methods to accurately predict and model the transient fluid structure interaction between cryogenic fluids and immersed components to predict the dynamic loads and frequency response of facilities.
  • Improved capabilities to predict and model the behavior of components (valves, check valves, chokes, etc.) during the facility design process are needed. These capabilities are required for modeling components in high pressure (to 12,000 psi), with flow rates up to several thousand lb/sec, in cryogenic environments and must address two-phase flows. Challenges include: accurate, efficient, thermodynamic state models; cavitation models for propellant tanks, valve flows, and run lines; reduction in solution time; improved stability; acoustic interactions; and fluid-structure interactions in internal flows.


Advanced Rocket Propulsion Test Instrumentation

Rocket propulsion system development is enabled by rigorous ground testing to mitigate the propulsion system risks inherent in spaceflight. Test articles and facilities are highly instrumented to enable a comprehensive analysis of propulsion system performance. Advanced instrumentation has the potential for substantial reduction in time and cost of propulsion systems development, with substantially reduced operational costs and improvements in ground, launch, and flight system operational robustness.

Advanced instrumentation should provide a wireless, highly flexible instrumentation solution capable of multiple measurements (e.g., heat flux, temperature, pressure, strain, and/or near-field acoustics). These advanced instruments should function as a modular node in a sensor network, capable of performing some processing, gathering sensory information, and communicating with other connected nodes in the network. The collected sensor network must be capable of integration with data from conventional data acquisition systems adhering to strict calibration and timing standards (e.g., Synchronization with Inter-Range Instrumentation Group—Time Code Format B (IRIG-B) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceability is critical to propulsion test data analysis.)

Rocket propulsion test facilities also provide excellent testbeds for testing and using the innovative technologies for possible application beyond the static propulsion testing environment. These sensors would be capable of addressing multiple mission requirements for remote monitoring such as vehicle health monitoring in flight systems, autonomous vehicle operation, or instrumenting inaccessible measurement locations, all while eliminating cabling and auxiliary power. Advanced instrumentation could support sensing and control applications beyond those of propulsion testing. For example, inclusion of expert system or artificial intelligence technologies might provide great benefits for autonomous operations, health monitoring, or self-maintaining systems.