NASA Seeks Partnerships on Reusable Suborbital Vehicles, Smallsat Launchers

NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking potential partnerships with U.S. space companies that are maturing suborbital reusable launch vehicles as well as companies pursuing development of small spacecraft orbital launch systems.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, managed by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, California, recently issued a request for information for the commercial space industry to build partnerships that would advance the growth of space technologies and services with these companies.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities and Small Spacecraft Technology Programs are exploring potential partnership options. Notional industry and NASA partnerships would:

  • Transfer and capitalize on NASA’s long history in investments, knowledge, and expertise relevant to launch system technologies.
  • Support a growing commercial interest to provide more frequent, reliable, and cost-effective suborbital and orbital access to space for small payloads than is currently available.

NASA recently awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts to four companies to provide suborbital reusable launch and payload integration services for small technology payloads. These contracts were restricted to vendors having commercial operational readiness with flight-proven vehicles.

NASA contributions to an industry partnership could include technical expertise, test facilities, hardware and software. NASA-industry partnership may take advantage of Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreements, Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or other arrangements.

In any potential agreement, NASA would provide personnel, goods, services and facilities, but not direct funding. Private partners would retain all intellectual property with NASA, retaining non-exclusive limited rights.

Full details of NASA’s request for information on maturing suborbital reusable vehicles and developing orbital launch systems for small spacecraft is available at:

The Flight Opportunities and Small Spacecraft Technology Programs are part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The directorate is charged with maturing crosscutting technologies to flight readiness status for future space missions. The organization continues to solicit the help of the best and brightest minds in academia, industry and government to drive innovation and enable solutions in important technology thrust areas. These planned investments are addressing high priority challenges for achieving safe and affordable deep-space exploration.

For more about NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, visit:

For more about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit: