NASA wants to rapidly advance technologies to meet its space exploration and Earth observation goals, and the agency is opening up its search to qualified commercial businesses, academic institutions, entrepreneurs, and other innovators. To do so, the agency launched the NASA TechLeap Prize – a competition that provides payload development funding and access to suborbital flight testing for promising space technologies that meet a specific agency need.
The NASA TechLeap Prize is funded by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which helps a wide range of space technologies reach maturity more quickly by testing them on suborbital flights. These tests can provide critical data and insight into how a technology is expected to perform in its intended space environment, as well as help reduce risk prior to much more costly orbital missions.
The Autonomous Observation Challenge No. 1 will discover integrated, compact precision pointing systems that could be used to autonomously detect, track, and collect data on transient events – both on Earth and beyond. These capabilities might also be leveraged for autonomous ad hoc optical communications networks, aiding lunar exploration in detecting, tracking, and establishing line-of-sight communications with any lander, rover, or object on the Moon. For this challenge, Flight Opportunities is working closely with NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program to address gaps that are of significant interest to the small spacecraft research community.
Total Cash Prize Pool
$500,000 to up to 4 teams