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NextSTEP D: In Situ Resource Utilization Technology

Solicitation number: NNH16ZCQ001K-ISRU

Concept image showing ISRU system concept for autonomous robotic excavation and processing of Mars soil to extract water for use
ISRU system concept for autonomous robotic excavation and processing of Mars soil to extract water for use in exploration missions.

Nov. 16, 2017 – Synopsis Issued
Dec. 04, 2017 – Appendix D Issued | Announcement
Dec. 11, 2017 – Virtual Industry Forum Briefing Packet 
Feb. 15, 2018 – Questions received and answered 
Feb. 16, 2018 – Appendix D, Amendment 1 Issued
May 31, 2018 – Selections Announced

UPDATE Feb 16, 2018: NASA issued Amendment 1 to Appendix D; the original proposal due date of March 5, 2018, has been changed to March 12, 2018.

UPDATE Dec. 11, 2017: NASA hosted a virtual industry forum Dec 11 at 1:00 pm EST, to provide an overview of NextSTEP-2 Appendix D Issued: In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Technology. The briefing and audio recording are available here:

A list of non-NASA industry forum participants is posted here to facilitate partnering among potential proposers:

For questions about potential NASA-contributed resources including NASA facilities or expertise, proposers should refer to the NASA points-of-contact listed in the BAA, Attachment A.

References for NextSTEP-2 BAA Appendix D: ISRU Technology

Links to the references listed in the BAA (Section 7) are provided below. Some of the links may require subscriptions to access the full text; NASA does not endorse any of the non-NASA websites or related services that provide access to these references.

  1. Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration, NP-2015-08-2018-HQ, Oct. 2015
  2. Human Exploration of Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0”, Drake, Bret (editor), NASA/SP–2009–566, July, 2009
  3. Human Exploration of Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0 Addendum”, Drake, Bret (editor), NASA/SP–2009–566-ADD, July, 2009
  4. The Purpose of Human Spaceflight and a Lunar Architecture to Explore the Potential of Resource Utilization”, Lavoie, Tony, and Spudis, Paul, AIAA Space 2016, Long Beach, CA, 13-16 September 2016
  5. Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public-Private Partnerships”, Miller, Charles, Wilhite, Alan, et al., July 2015
  6. NASA Technology Roadmaps, July 13, 2015 
  7. Mars Ascent Vehicle Design for Human Exploration”, Polsgrove, Tara, Thomas, Dan, Sutherlin, Steven, and Stephens, Walter, AIAA Space 2015, Pasadena, CA, 31 Aug-2 Sep, 2015 
  8. An ISRU Propellant Production System to Fully Fuel a Mars Ascent Vehicle”, Kleinhenz, Julie E., and Paz, Aaron, AIAA SciTech Conference 2017, Grapevine, TX, 9-13 Jan. 2017
  9. NASA In-Situ Resource Utilization Project – Development & Implementation”, Sanders, Gerald B., Larson, William E., Sacksteder, Kurt R., and Mclemore, Carole A., Space 2008, San Diego, CA, 9-11, Sep. 2008
  10. Cis-Lunar Resusable In-Space Transportation Architecture for the Evolvable Mars Campaign”, McVay, Eric S., Jones, Christopher A., and Merrill, Raymond G., AIAA Space 2016, Long Beach, CA, 13-16 Sep. 2016
  11. Overview of NASA Technology Development for In-Situ Resource Utilization”, Linne, Diane L., Sanders, Gerald B., Starr, Stanley O., et al., 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), IAC-17-D3.3.1, Adelaide, Australia, 25-29 Sep. 2017
  12. NASA Systems Engineering Processes and Requirements, NPR 7123.1B, Appendix E
  13. Evaluations of lunar regolith simulants,” Taylor, L.A., Pieters, C.M., and Britt, D., Planetary and Space Science 126 (2016) 1-7, April 2016.
  14. Figure of Merit Characteristics Compared to Engineering Parameters”, Schrader, C.M. and Rickman, D.L., NASA/TM-2010-216443, September 2010.
  15. Design and Specifications for the Highland Regolith Prototype Simulants NU-LHT-1M and -2M,” Stoeser, D., Wilson, S., and Rickman, D., NASA/TM-2010-216438.
  16. Mechanical Properties of Icy Mars Regolith Simulant: Assessment of a Potential ISRU Feedstock”, Ash, R.L.,, AIAA 2016-0227, January 2016.
  17. Simulating Martian regolith in the laboratory”, Seiferlin, K.,, Planetary and Space Science 56 (2008) 2009-2025, October 2008.
  18. Mojave Mars simulant-Characterization of a new geologic Mars analog”, Peters, G.H.,, Icarus 197 (2008) 470-479, May 2008.
  19. Overview of NASA Technology Development for In-Situ Resource Utilization”, Linne, Diane L., Sanders, Gerald B., Starr, Stanley O., et al., 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), IAC-17-D3.3.1, Adelaide, Australia, 25-29 Sep. 2017
  20. Detection of Water in the LCROSS Ejecta Plume”, Anthony Colaprete, Peter Shultz, Jennifer Heldmann, et al., Science 330, 22 Oct. 2010
  21. Volatile, Isotope, and Organic Analysis of Martian Fines with the Mars Curiosity Rover”, L. A. Leshin et al., Science 341 (2013), DOI: 10.1126/science.1238937 
  22. Capability and Technology Performance Goals for the Next Step in Affordable Human Exploration of Space”, Linne, D.L., Sanders, G.B., Taminger, K.M., AIAA 2015-1650, January 2015.
  23. Overview of Proposed ISRU Technology Development“, Linne, D.L., Sanders, G.B., Starr, S.O., Suzuki, N.H., and O’Malley, T.F., Presented at the Joint Space Resources Roundtable/Planetary & Terrestrial Mining and Sciences Symposium, June 2016.

NextSTEP-2 is an Omnibus BAA that solicits proposals through appendices in areas including, but not limited to:

  • Studies to support mission architecture definition;
  • New approaches to rapidly develop prototype systems;
  • Demonstration of key capabilities;
  • Validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond low-Earth orbit; and
  • End-to-end design, development, test, and in-space evaluation of future flight systems. 

For more information, read the NextSTEP-2 Synopsis on FedBizOps​. 

Learn more about NASA’s NextSTEP public-private partnership model that seeks to stimulate the commercial space industry and help the agency explore deep space for the benefit of all.