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NASA Looking for Academic Partners on Smallsat Collaboration

NASA is seeking Smallsat technology proposals from American colleges and universities. The agency reported it plans to select 10 total proposals, with project awards ranging from $100,000 for single schools to $150,000 for teams of multiple schools.

The program is looking for proposals in a wide range of categories for small spacecraft, including technology development, spacecraft development, and payload development for "suborbital, balloon or orbital space flights." Small spacecraft are defined as spacecraft massing about 400 pounds or less and include minisatellites (220 pounds), microsatellites (22 pounds to 220 pounds), nanosatellites (2.2 pounds to 22 pounds, including cubesats), picosatellites (0.02 pounds to 2.2 pounds), and femtosatellites (0.0022 pounds to 0.02 pounds).

In addition to project funding, NASA will provide one FTE employee to support the project. The project duration is one year, though a continuation into a second year is possible.

"This new opportunity will engage university students and graduate researchers in advancing technology of value to NASA and the nation, and help strengthen our high-tech work force," said Andrew Petro, program executive for the Small Spacecraft Technology Program at NASA, in a prepared statement. "There is a vibrant small spacecraft community emerging within America's universities and NASA is taking steps to increase our collaboration with that community. The universities will benefit from the deep experience NASA has in space research and technology, while NASA will benefit from fresh ideas and cost-conscious innovation at the universities."

The program is open to teams of undergraduate and graduate students, with a principal investigator connected to a college or university in the United States. Notices of intent are due May 1. Proposals are due June 5. Final selections will be made July 12. The target start date for projects is Sept. 2.

Additional details about NASA's Smallsat program can be found on NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate portal. Additional information about submitting proposals can be found on NASA's NSPIRES site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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