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Ground crew inflate a high-altitude balloon at dawn.
A research team from the University of Iowa tested their CubeSat Articulated Boom Option Optimization in Microgravity
UP Aerospace’s SpaceLoft rocket launching from Spaceport America, New Mexico.

Access Flight Tests

Flight Opportunities offers several avenues for accessing flights on commercial vehicles in order to test and demonstrate space technologies. Whether you are a NASA employee, a student, or a researcher with a university, research institute, or commercial organization, funds may be available directly through the program or in collaboration between Flight Opportunities and other NASA programs.

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Examples of NASA-Supported Payloads

SpaceX Dragon space freightner in space.

NASA-Supported Optical Fiber Manufacturing Arrives at Space Station

“Suborbital flight testing serves as a valuable stepping stone as it allows us to assess hardware performance in microgravity relatively quickly and cost effectively before deploying it on the station,” said Kevin Engelbert, portfolio manager for NASA Johnson Space Center’s In Space Production Applications (InSPA) project.

Purdue University Ph.D. student Leon Brendel rotates a highly instrumented fridge experiment designed to work in different orientations

Keeping it Fresh: A Space Fridge for Long-Duration Missions

The Flight Opportunities program's support of Air Squared’s SBIR Phase II-E award included flight tests. Parabolic flights provided the research team brief periods of microgravity, while also allowing them to be present to tend to their payloads during flight. This demonstration provided critical data to mature the technology for potential future use on space exploration missions.

aircraft on tarmac

Small Business Gets an Assist from NASA Problem Solvers

This team effort across programs is one example of the many ways NASA helps foster the commercial space industry and support small businesses across the nation. And this isn’t the first time that the Flight Opportunities team has helped solve technical problems as part of the “fly-fix-fly” approach to testing.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lands on the pad in West Texas on Aug. 26, 2021.

NASA Researchers Gain Valuable Data from OSCAR’s Second Flight

Developed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, OSCAR started as an Early Career Initiative project in 2018. It launched the first time on a Blue Origin flight in December 2019 and was selected for a second flight via the Flight Opportunities program. “The data we gathered from this flight, alongside lab tests, indicate we can make some real progress in maturing an appropriate space-ready, trash-to-gas system for future development,” said Thermofluids Engineer Malay Shah.