NASA intends to issue an Appendix to the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships -2 (NextSTEP-2) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) in the near future to solicit ideas and technologies to advance In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) capabilities. To progress from our current "Earth-Reliant" approach to exploration and eventually become "Earth Independent", we need to first identify resources in space and then learn to use and harvest them to minimize logistics from Earth, reduce costs, and enable sustainable and affordable space transportation and surface operations. In-Situ Resource Utilization involves collecting andconverting local resources into products that can reduce mission mass, cost, and/or risk of human exploration and lead to independence from Earth that would berequired for more sustained human presence in deep space. While NASA has analyzed and developed ISRU component and subsystem technologies for several decades, many of the technologies and systems are still immature, do not meet collection and processing rates needed for sustained human exploration, and/or have not been operated for long durations under relevant mission environmental conditions.
NASA will be seeking proposals for research contracts in areas for design, fabrication, and testing of critical components and subsystems for acquisition and processing of extraterrestrial resources into water, oxygen, and fuel, using technologies and processes that leverage and support space or terrestrial commercial activities. While mission timeframes for ISRU technology are all in the 2020's and later, development of these technologies needs to begin well before the listed time horizon. The requested research ranges from trade studies, to component development, to component and subsystem development. NASA anticipates there could be multiple fixed price contracts awarded in the requested areas, depending on the scope of requirements met and resources available for the effort in NASA's portfolio. The duration of contracts will vary depending upon the complexityof the studies or development effort. NASA anticipates phased approaches that may extend up to 5 years. NASA intends to require minimum cost sharing thresholds and/or matching for the proposed efforts, which may include prior industry investment.
Detailed submission information, participant eligibility, additional topic information and specific evaluation criteria for the solicitation will be identified in the Appendix.