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Partnering With NASA

How to Partner With NASA

NASA offers 60 years of experience in advanced engineering and testing capabilities, cutting edge research and technology development, as well as unique assets such as land, facilities and laboratories for use by commercial industries, academic institutions, U.S. Government agencies and international entities.

› Partnership Events and Opportunities
› Partnership Contacts and Capabilities
› Current Space Act Agreements
› Watch Our Video
› NASA Partnerships one-page Information sheet (PDF)

NASA Media Usage Guidelines, Regulations on Merchandising Requests, and Regulations on Advertising Requests

Frequently Asked Questions About NASA Partnerships

1. What is a NASA “partnership?”

NASA uses the term “partnership” to describe a wide variety of relationships with various external entities (e.g., contractors, academia, the public, other stakeholders).  For the purpose of these FAQs, a “partnership” is a distinct type of non-procurement business relationship that does not involve the acquisition of goods and services for the direct benefit of the Agency.

2. Why does NASA engage in Partnerships?

Partnerships help the Agency accomplish its mission objectives in several ways, including:

  • Facilitating collaborative opportunities with domestic and international partners
  • Helping NASA resolve gaps in technical capabilities that are important to meeting our mission objectives
  • Supporting U.S. economic innovation and industrial competitiveness
  • Serving as a tool for meeting NASA’s mandate under the Space Act of encouraging the “fullest commercial use of space”
  • Helping to maintain essential NASA expertise and facilities
  • Advancing NASA’s STEM education and outreach goals

3. What is the difference between Partnership Agreements and Procurement Contracts?

  • Partnership agreements are generally used to: (1) support the needs of the external partner where the partner reimburses government expenses (reimbursable partnership) or (2) achieve a mutual goal when working collaboratively on a no-exchange-of-funds basis (nonreimbursable partnership).
  • Procurement contracts, which are subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and procurement statutes, are required when the principal purpose of the transaction is to acquire property or services for the direct benefit or use of the Federal Government. 
  • Both procurements and partnerships are important tools used by NASA in meeting its missions.

4. What is a Space Act Agreement (SAA)?

The most common legal instrument used to formulate partnerships at NASA is called the Space Act Agreement (SAA). NASA is authorized by Congress to enter into these kinds of agreement per its “Other Transactions Authority (OTA)” under the National Aeronautics and Space Act (51 U.S.C. § 20113(e)). These agreements are similar to Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) that some other Federal agencies use when partnering with industry. SAAs can be nonreimbursable, reimbursable, funded, or unfunded.

  • Nonreimbursable agreements are agreements in which the partner and NASA are involved in a mutually beneficial activity that furthers the Agency’s objectives, wherein each party bears the cost of its participation on a no-exchange-of-funds basis. 
  • Reimbursable agreements are agreements that primarily benefit the partner and NASA’s costs associated with the activity are reimbursed by the agreement partner in accordance with Agency financial policy. NASA undertakes reimbursable agreements when it has goods, services, facilities, or equipment not reasonably available from the U.S. commercial sector, that can be made available to others on a noninterference basis, consistent with the Agency’s mission objectives.
  • Funded agreements are agreements in which NASA transfers appropriated funds to a domestic partner to accomplish an Agency objective where there is no direct benefit to NASA. Funded agreements may be used when the Agency cannot accomplish its objectives through the use of a procurement contract, grant, or cooperative agreement, and only after full and open competition.
  • Unfunded agreements are agreements in which the Agency provides goods, services, facilities, or equipment on a no-exchange-of-funds basis to a domestic partner to accomplish an Agency objective where there is no direct benefit to NASA. NASA will enter into Unfunded agreements only after full and open competition.

5. With whom does NASA partner?

NASA partners with a wide variety of entities, including:

  • U.S. Industry (large and small)
  • Other Federal agencies
  • Research institutions
  • Public outreach organizations (e.g., museums)
  • State and local governments
  • Colleges and universities
  • Foreign entities (businesses, academia, research institutions, governments)
  • Professional associations and non-profits

6. How do I partner with NASA?

There are multiple ways to initiate a partnership with NASA—

  • In response to a Public Announcement: NASA uses various types of public announcements to communicate information about available assets.  These formal communications, including Announcement for Proposal (AFP), Request for Information (RFI) and Notice of Availability (NOA) can be found on the Contract Opportunities website (, and the NASA Acquisition Internet Service website (
  • Other inquiries: Inquiries, questions, or request for information can be sent to the applicable NASA partnerships points of contact listed here: NASA Locations, Capabilities and Points of Contact | NASA

7. Where can I find more information about NASA media usage guidelines, regulations on merchandising requests, and regulations on advertising requests

Please visit these pages—

Additional Resources: Other Opportunities to Engage with NASA

NASA Office of International and Interagency Relations (Headquarters)

NASA Office of Procurement (Headquarters)

NASA Office of Small Business Programs (Headquarters)


NASA Technology Transfer Program

NASA Research Opportunities

NASA Unsolicited Proposals (for Companies)

NASA Unsolicited Grant Proposals (for Universities, Non-Profits)

Capabilities Sought through Crowd Sourcing

Capabilities Sought through Prize Competitions

Additional Resources: NASA Exploration and Technology Development Information

Human Space Exploration Capabilities – Moon to Mars

NASA Science

Space Exploration – Human Health & Performance Research

Commercial Development of Low Earth Orbit

Technology Development

NASA STEM Engagement