The New Millennium Program (NMP) taps into the current technology "pipeline" by engaging teams of engineers and scientists from industry, academia, NASA, and other governmental agencies that are developing promising technologies for more capable spacecraft and science instruments. During the NMP technology selection process, these teams are guided by the roadmaps of NASA's three mission areas: Sun-Earth System, Solar System, and Universe. These roadmaps are also used to conceive and design the Program's space-flight validation missions.
Example of technologies selected for improved-capability spacecraft are:
Example of technologies selected for improved-capability science instruments are:
Other promising technologies include:
The launch vehicle is a significant portion of any mission's budget. The larger a spacecraft, the larger and more costly a launch vehicle is required to boost it into space. Another significant portion is allocated to the operations team throughout the mission. Smaller spacecraft and fewer (or no) operations team members translates into smaller budgetswithout compromising the science payback.
While NMP's primary focus is to test advanced instruments, spacecraft systems and subsystems, and concepts in flight, scientific data may, in addition, be returned as a "byproduct." The capabilities now being developed and tested will one day enable NASA's solar system exploratory spacecraft and Earth satellites to answer even more challenging scientific questions.