NASA Seeks Proposals For Green Propellant Technology Demonstrations

Artist's image of a satellite in orbit.  Satellites run off a highly toxic fuel called hydrazine.  NASA proposals for green propellant alternatives to the highly toxic fuel.  Image credit: NASA

Artist's image of a satellite in orbit. Satellites run off a highly toxic fuel called hydrazine. NASA proposals for green propellant alternatives to the highly toxic fuel. Image credit: NASA

WASHINGTON — NASA is seeking technology demonstration proposals for
green propellant alternatives to the highly toxic fuel hydrazine. As
NASA works with American companies to open a new era of access to
space, the agency seeks innovative and transformative fuels that are
less harmful to our environment.

Hydrazine is an efficient and ubiquitous propellant that can be stored
for long periods of time, but is also highly corrosive and toxic. It
is used extensively on commercial and defense department satellites
as well as for NASA science and exploration missions. NASA is looking
for an alternative that decreases environmental hazards and
pollutants, has fewer operational hazards and shortens rocket launch
processing times.

“High performance green propulsion has the potential to significantly
change how we travel in space,” said Michael Gazarik, director of
NASA’s Space Technology Program at the agency’s headquarters in
Washington. “NASA’s Space Technology Program seeks out these sort of
cross-cutting, innovative technologies to enable our future missions
while also providing benefit to the American space industry. By
reducing the hazards of handling fuel, we can reduce ground
processing time and lower costs for rocket launches, allowing a
greater community of researchers and technologists access to the high
frontier.”

Beyond decreasing environmental hazards and pollutants, promising
aspects of green propellants also include reduced systems complexity,
fewer operational hazards, decreased launch processing times and
increased propellant performance.

Maturing a space technology, such as green propellants, to mission
readiness through relevant environment testing and demonstration is a
significant challenge from a cost, schedule and risk perspective.
NASA has established the Technology Demonstration Missions Program to
perform this function, bridging the gap between laboratory
confirmation of a technology and its initial use on an operational
mission.

NASA anticipates making one or more awards in response to this
solicitation, with no single award exceeding $50 million. Final
awards will be made based on the strength of proposals and
availability of funds. The deadline for submitting proposals is April
30.

The Technology Demonstration Missions Program is managed by NASA’s
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. To view the
announcement and instructions for submissions, visit:

http://go.usa.gov/Qbx

For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Program and
Technology Demonstration Missions, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oct

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