NASA is planning to create first-ever space technology research institute that will focus on developing technologies critical to extending human presence deeper into solar system.
The new Space Technology Research Institute (STRIs) created under project will help bring together researchers from various disciplines and organisations to collaborate on the advancement of cutting-edge technologies in bio-manufacturing and space infrastructure, with the goal of creating and maximising Earth-independent, self-sustaining exploration mission capabilities.
“NASA is establishing STRIs to research and exploit cutting-edge advances in technology with the potential for revolutionary impact on future aerospace capabilities,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington.
“These university-led, multi-disciplinary research programmes promote the synthesis of science, engineering and other disciplines to achieve specific research objectives with credible expected outcomes within five years.
“At the same time, these institutes will expand the US talent base in areas of research and development with broader applications beyond aerospace,” said Jurczyk.
Each of the STRI will receive up to USD 15 million over five-year period of performance.
The names of the selected institutes are: Centre for the Utilisation of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES) and Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP).
NASA has been shifting its focus from low-Earth orbit to deep space missions for which the agency plans to invest in the development of technologies that will allow long-duration mission crews to manufacture the products they need, rather than relying on the current practice of resupply missions from Earth.
For such deep space missions, NASA would require transformative materials for the manufacturing of next-generation transit vehicles. Though these materials need to be lighter and stronger than those currently used in even the most advanced systems.
With PTI Inputs