NASA Signs Unfunded Collaborations With Blue Origin, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, and Others on Commercial LEO Projects
NASA announced unfunded Space Act agreements with seven companies on Thursday on projects related to human spaceflight and the commercial Low Earth Orbit (LEO) economy. SpaceX, Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, Special Aerospace Services, ThinkOrbital, and Vast signed agreements with NASA.
This is NASA’s second Collaboration for Commercial Space Capabilities-2 initiative (CCSC-2). NASA shares technical expertise, assessments, technologies, and data, with the companies involved.
SpaceX is collaborating with NASA on potentially using Starship as both transportation and a destination in LEO, and an integrated LEO architecture of SpaceX’s portfolio including Super Heavy, Dragon, and Starlink.
Blue Origin’s agreement involves developing commercial space transportation with high-frequency U.S. access to orbit for crew and other missions.
Northrop Grumman is working with NASA on its Persistent Platform for autonomous and robotic capabilities for commercial science research and manufacturing capabilities in LEO.
The Special Aerospace Services agreement looks at in-space servicing technology to assemble and service commercial Low-Earth Orbit destinations. ThinkOrbital is collaborating with NASA on its development of ThinkPlatforms that can be used for a variety of applications in LEO, and CONTESA (Construction Technologies for Space Applications). And Vast’s agreement deals with technologies for its microgravity and artificial gravity stations.
NASA said these agreements will foster more competition for future services.
“It is great to see companies invest their own capital toward innovative commercial space capabilities, and we’ve seen how these types of partnerships benefit both the private sector and NASA,” said Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “The companies can leverage NASA’s vast knowledge and experience, and the agency can be a customer for the capabilities included in the agreements in the future.”