GCD’s efforts are focused on the mid Technology Readiness Level (TRL) range of 3 to 5 or 6, generally taking technologies from initial lab concepts to a complete engineering development prototype. Learn more about Game Changing Development featured projects.
These space technology projects aim to enable rapid, safe and efficient travel for future missions. “GO” technologies will help facilitate low-cost delivery of robotic payloads to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Several projects focus on reducing mission costs and complexity by advancing reusable launch and in-space propulsion systems. Other projects in this area are advancing in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) technologies for creating propellants in space. Among others, some “GO” technology projects in the Game Changing Development portfolio include: An advanced thruster engine design that uses propellants capable of operating at extremely low temperatures for an extended period of time without freezing. Lighter rocket hardware pieces that could substantially reduce the fabrication time and cost of rocket thrust chamber assemblies. High-power hall thrusters for Mars nuclear electric propulsion.
Thruster Advancement for Low-temperature Operation in Space
Learn how Thruster Advancement for Low-temperature Operation in Space (TALOS) provides rapid, safe, and efficient space transportation.
“LAND” projects aim to expand access to diverse planetary surface destinations. These technologies will enable lunar and Mars access in order to land large payloads to support human missions. The “LAND”-focused developments in the GCD portfolio include: A suite of landing technologies that will enable future Moon missions to target landing sites that weren’t possible during the Apollo missions, such as regions with hazardous boulders and shadowed craters. Instruments on the Perseverance rover that will measure the pressure and heat on the Mars 2020 entry vehicle’s backshell, an area with minimal pressure flight data and no heating flight data. Modeling and testing capabilities to better understand how rocket exhaust plumes affect a landing site.
Plume Surface Interaction
Learn how Plume Surface Interaction (PSI) expands access to diverse surface destinations.
“LIVE” projects enable humans to live and work farther away from Earth. These projects will conduct human and robotic lunar surface missions beyond 28 days without resupply, and conduct human Mars missions beyond 800 days including transit without resupply. The projects help to enable surface habitats that use local resources to create a variety of valuable items, such as propellant and water. Among others, some “LIVE” technologies within the GCD portfolio include: The capability to manufacture and repair parts on-demand in space. A platform for producing nutrients on-demand during deep space missions A software system that could eventually enable astronauts on long-duration missions to diagnose and treat emergency conditions quickly, rather than waiting on delayed expert medical advice from ground support .
Cold Operable Lunar Deployable Arm
Learn how the Cold Operable Lunar Deployable Arm (COLDArm) sustains living and working farther from Earth.
“EXPLORE” projects support transformative missions and discoveries at the Moon, Mars and other extreme space environments. The space technologies developed in this area will enable architectures that are more rapid, affordable and capable than ever before. NASA’s EXPLORE projects are developing new approaches for in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing. These projects take space data processing to the next generation with higher-performance computing, communications and navigation. Among others, the “EXPLORE”-focused technologies in the GCD portfolio include: Shoebox-sized robots to autonomously scout regions on the Moon and gain intel about locations that may be difficult for astronauts to investigate on foot, like hard-to-reach craters and narrow caves. A payload that will significantly improve the utility for lunar landers by providing manipulation capabilities through the lunar night by using novel Bulk Metallic glass gears. A system that could unpack and assemble into an antenna or small habitat on its own.