Officials at the American space agency announce that they have selected no less than 26 new development projects aimed at improving NASA's future rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).
The proposals were submitted by representatives of both academia and industry, the agency says, and cover everything from concept development, trades and analyses, and propulsion, to structures, materials, manufacturing, avionics, and software.
“Engaging with academia and industry gives us the opportunity to take advantage of the ingenuity and expertise beyond NASA. It will help us optimize affordability while integrating mature technical upgrades into future vehicles,” NASA HEOMD Associate Administrator, William Gerstenmaier, says.
The SLS will carry out its maiden flight in 2017. By 2020, it will begin ferrying the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) to orbit. Five years later, an Orion capsule will make its way to an asteroid. By the mid-2030s, NASA astronauts will reach Mars.
A full list of the SLS projects can be viewed here