Tomorrow's Rocket Taking Shape Today

At NASA we’re constantly reaching for new heights and bringing about a future where we can do more than we can do today. We’re making the impossible possible. We’re helping to create jobs while we do it. We’ve done it many times in the past, and now we’re striving to do it again by building the largest rocket the world has ever seen to carry humans farther into to space than ever before. Today we take one more step on that path.

In order to reach the deep space destinations like an asteroid and Mars, our Space Launch System, or SLS, will require boosters similar to, but more powerful than those we designed for the space shuttle. Today, NASA selected six proposals to improve the affordability, reliability, and performance of an advanced booster for the SLS. The companies selected will develop engineering demonstrations and risk reduction concepts for the heavy-lift rocket — a launch vehicle that will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

The SLS is crucial to our future exploration plans, and we look forward to the concepts and ideas that these companies will give us. The funding for this work is contingent, however, on Congress providing the resources that President Obama has requested in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget request.

A new era of space exploration has already begun. Commercial partners are making more and more milestones, such as SpaceX’s historic launch, berthing, and return of the Dragon capsule in May. With commercial space well on its way to taking over the transport to low Earth orbit that NASA pioneered, it’s time again for NASA to innovate by doing the next big thing no one can right now.

NASA is lining up the work to continue aggressively on a new transportation system to get American astronauts on missions to an asteroid and Mars. The Orion crew vehicle that will ride atop the SLS is already well into development. In 2014 our prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, will launch it on an unmanned flight that will simulate a lunar mission re-entry. This will help us buy down risks on the ultimate human-certified vehicle. We can’t stop now on the SLS, and we look forward to the support we need to carry out the work that a bi-partisan majority in Congress has supported to take America’s space program to new destinations and keep us reaching higher.

To read more about SLS, visit:

One-Stop Shop for NASA Technologies Available for Transfer

NASA recently released a new Web-based tool that provides the public, citizen inventors, and American businesses improved access to the agency’s unique intellectual property assets that are available for technology transfer. I’m proud to say NASA is the first federal agency to have its complete intellectual portfolio available in one online location.

Through our technology transfer program, NASA has a legacy of providing public benefit from the research and development we do to explore space and improve aeronautics. Our technology transfer efforts continue to be forward leaning and innovative. We’re committed to this robust program, and it’s good for the nation.

NASA designs technologies to solve difficult problems. Many of the same challenges we face here on Earth can directly benefit from space technology through the creation of commercial products and services.

Devices designed to operate in harsh, remote, high stress environments with limited servicing, for instance, can be used in some of the extreme locations found on Earth. Strong, lightweight materials that can withstand the extraordinary temperatures of space have applications on aircraft and in industrial manufacturing systems found throughout America. The lifesaving techniques, protocols, and tools NASA uses when the nearest doctor is more than 200 miles away can be applied to healthcare and remote telemedicine here on Earth. Recycling systems for closed environments, as well as energy generation and storage methods developed for use aboard the International Space Station provide benefits and innovative solutions to today’s need for dependable, renewable resources for America.

As NASA develops technologies that provide new knowledge and capabilities that will enable our current and future missions, we remain committed to providing a return on investment to the American taxpayer through our technology transfer efforts.

The use of NASA technologies by industry spurs job growth and U.S. economic competitiveness while improving our everyday lives. I encourage you to visit our new Technology Transfer Portal, where you can find success stories from our past and new partnering opportunities available today.

Visit NASA’s Technology Transfer Portal at: