A First for NASA Researchers
Ending years of debate, NASA plans to allow researchers to fly with their payloads on commercial suborbital vehicles for the first time. A draft solicitation was released in late January seeking payloads for NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which provides rides for such payloads on high-altitude balloons, parabolic aircraft flights and commercial suborbital vehicles.
In the past, researchers could propose flying payloads on Blue Origin’s New Shepard or Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, but the payloads had to be automated. In the draft solicitation, researchers can propose flying with their payloads on those vehicles.