NASA's Space Technology Program is innovating, developing, testing, and flying technology for use in NASA's future missions and by the greater aerospace community. With more than 800 projects under way, many of which are partnering with universities and industry, the program continues to meet milestones and advance NASA's technology capabilities.
This year, NASA's Space Technology Program launched and successfully demonstrated a hypersonic inflatable reentry vehicle, proving that inflatable heat shields are viable for safely slowing large-mass payloads during their fiery entry through planetary atmospheres, like those of Earth or Mars.
NASA continues to invest in and create new enabling robotic technologies that aid in future exploration while also having applications here one Earth, potentially helping paraplegics walk and aiding in other medical rehabilitation efforts. Investments in improved woven thermal protection systems also made strides this year using commercially available 3-D weaving techniques, reducing life cycle costs and allowing for sustainable and scalable space missions.