NASA's New Millennium program has selected two organizations to lead the work on new technologies to control a space vehicle's flight path so the payload responds only to gravitational forces.
The Disturbance Reduction System technology is scheduled to fly in 2006 as the Space Technology 7 project. Space Technology 7 is designed to test and validate advanced technologies for future use on NASA missions.
The total NASA funding for Space Technology 7 is $62.6 million. The technology providers are Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., and Busek Company Inc., Natick, Mass. Stanford University will provide a highly sensitive gravitational reference sensor that will measure the position of a spacecraft with respect to an internal free-floating mass. The Busek Company will provide a set of miniature ion thrusters capable of controlling spacecraft position with extremely fine precision.
"The Disturbance Reduction System is a promising new technology that will pave the way for future space observations of gravitational waves, giving us a whole new eye on the universe," said Dr. Anne Kinney, director of the Astronomy and Physics Division, Office of Space Science, NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C.
The New Millennium Program was created in 1994 to identify, develop and flight-validate advanced technologies that can lower costs and enable critical performance of science missions in the 21st century. The program is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Office of Earth Science and Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
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