NASA has chosen 14 early stage technology proposals from different universities as part of an effort to advance and support future space science and exploration programs.
The space agency said Friday it will award grants worth up to $500,000 from the Space Technology Research Grants program to the selected universities to work on their proposals, which were sought through the Early Stage Innovations 2018 solicitation.
The research projects will be divided into five categories, one of which will focus on modernizing small electric propulsion systems for small satellites that serve as secondary payloads.
Other research areas include increasing studies on smart and autonomous space systems; demonstrating optical communications technologies; modeling shock layer radiation and chemical kinetics for planetary entry environments; and developing better welding methods for rocket components made from lightweight metals.
Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA's space technology mission directorate, said the ESI research will help address issues on future exploration missions to the Moon, Mars and other parts of the universe.
The universities will work on their research and development projects for a maximum of three years.