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Roadmap for In-Space Propulsion TechnologyNASA has created a roadmap for the development of advanced in-space propulsion technologies for the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT). This roadmap was drafted by a team of subject matter experts from within the Agency and then independently evaluated, integrated and prioritized by a National Research Council (NRC) panel. The roadmap describes a portfolio of in-space propulsion technologies that could meet future space science and exploration needs, and shows their traceability to potential future missions. Mission applications range from small satellites and robotic deep space exploration to space stations and human missions to Mars. Development of technologies within the area of in-space propulsion will result in technical solutions with improvements in thrust, specific impulse (Isp), power, specific mass (or specific power), volume, system mass, system complexity, operational complexity, commonality with other spacecraft systems, manufacturability, durability, and of course, cost. These types of improvements will yield decreased transit times, increased payload mass, safer spacecraft, and decreased costs. In some instances, development of technologies within this area will result in mission-enabling breakthroughs that will revolutionize space exploration. There is no single propulsion technology that will benefit all missions or mission types. The requirements for in-space propulsion vary widely according to their intended application. This paper provides an updated summary of the In-Space Propulsion Systems technology area roadmap incorporating the recommendations of the NRC.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Meyer, Michael
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Johnson, Les
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Palaszewski, Bryan
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Coote, David
(NASA Stennis Space Center Stennis Space Center, MS, United States)
Goebel, Dan
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
White, Harold
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 2012
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Space Propulsion 2012
Location: Bordeaux
Country: France
Start Date: May 7, 2012
End Date: May 10, 2012
Sponsors: European Space Agency, Association Aeronautique et Astronautique de France, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 432938.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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