NASA has unveiled its plans to prioritize space technology that will be essential if the space agency is going to achieve the goals that have been laid out in front of it. NASA posted its Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan on the agency’s website.
“Technology enables discovery and advancement,” NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck said. “We look forward to working with our stakeholders to grow our technological base and take the journey to expand scientific understanding, explore the universe, and make a positive impact on the lives of all.”
After the development of a number of draft Space Technology Roadmaps, NASA initiated the Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan. The National Research Panel reviewed the Roadmaps. Then, with advice from both the public as well as key stakeholders, NASA signed off on the new Strategic Plan.
Under this new plan, the agency is given direction as to what technology the space agency will invest in (hence the name). According to a NASA press release, the plan will cover a period of some 20 years and will be updated every two years.
President Barack Obama and Congress directed NASA in 2010 toward a new path that political leaders hope will allow the agency to better conduct its affairs. Through investment in different space technologies it is hoped that NASA will be able to lower costs, better support long-term objectives, and increase its capabilities.
The foundation of the plan is a four-tiered system that will work to guarantee the highest level of performance for NASA’s exploration and science missions. The plan has also been designed to maximize the investment of NASA’s key stakeholder—the U.S. taxpayer.
In terms of NASA’s plan for future crewed exploration of the solar system, the space agency plans to use its commercial partners to provide access to low-Earth orbit while the agency focuses on sending crews to destinations past the influence of Earth, including the Moon, asteroids, and, one day, Mars. The Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan is considered to be a key part of accomplishing these objectives.