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Technology Impact Stories

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) develops technologies through a community of entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators to solve the nation’s toughest challenges and enable future NASA and commercial missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Each impact story summarizes an STMD-enabled technology’s journey. They follow STMD-funded technologies from idea to use – illustrating how support from NASA drives innovation, development, demonstration, and commercialization of new technologies.

Large Balloon Reflector: NASA Tech Breathes Life Into Potentially Game-Changing Antenna Design

Freefall in space above the Earth.
The Large Balloon Reflector (LBR), an inflatable device that creates wide collection apertures that weigh a fraction of today’s deployable antennas.

Navigation Doppler Lidar: NASA Landing Innovation Helps Commercial Moon, Orbital Missions

COBALT during launch.
NDL was flight-tested as part of the COBALT project in 2017, funded by the Flight Opportunities program in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

Terrain Relative Navigation: Touchdown on Rocky New Worlds

rosa in space above mars
Terrain Relative Navigation (TRN), a technology developed by NASA, facilitates increased landing accuracy and helps spacecraft avoid surface hazards. It allows the exploration of other worlds, like Mars and various moons, in areas that were previously considered too difficult for the spacecraft to land.

Roll-Out Solar Arrays: Rolling Out a Path to Future Space Travel

Two astronauts working on ROSA.
Standard solar arrays in space can be expensive, heavy, and often very complex to operate.
Roll-Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) are an alternative to existing solar array technologies. These arrays are a compact design, more affordable, and offer autonomous capabilities that can enhance a wide spectrum of scientific and commercial missions, from low-Earth orbit all the way to interplanetary travel.



Last Updated
Jan 30, 2024
Loura Hall