NASA to Begin Research on Beamed Propulsion, In-Orbit Servicing Immediately

NASA Jump-starts Space Technology Program
Space News

Senior NASA officials are so eager to jump-start advanced technology efforts that they sought and won congressional approval to devote $36.5 million in 2010 funding to eight high-priority research projects.

Those projects, which include joint efforts with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to investigate horizontal launch capabilities, in-orbit satellite servicing and power-beam propulsion, are set to begin immediately, said Robert Braun, NASA chief technologist.

The majority of the space agency’s new  technology initiatives are set to begin in 2011 with the creation of the Space Technology Program. The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama included a request for $572 million to establish the Space Technology Program in NASA’s 2011 budget. The program combines many of the space agency’s existing research and technology initiatives, such as the Innovative Partnerships Program, with a set of new programs designed to shepherd advanced technology from initial concept studies to flight testing, Braun said Aug. 10 during a visit to the NASA Ames Research Center here.

Work to be conducted in 2010 includes systems analysis, technology assessment and ground-based testing, Braun said. Continuation of these activities in 2011 will depend on the results of the work completed in 2010 and congressional deliberations, he added.

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