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Space Technology 6: Testing Tomorrow's Technology Today!
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NASA's New Millennium Program (NMP) was created to test breakthrough technologies in the harsh environment of space and validate them for use in future solar system exploration and Earth science missions. To determine the future capabilities needed, NMP is guided by NASA's Earth and Space Science "roadmaps." These roadmaps, developed by scientists, lay out the path of future scientific enquiry. They serve not only as a vital guide for NMP's selection of technologies, but are used to conceive and design the Program's space test projects as well.

NMP's technologists attempt to match the technical requirements outlined in the roadmaps with technologies emerging from the national "pipeline." This pipeline consists of current technology-development efforts in the private sector, academia, non-profit organizations, and other United States government and NASA centers. Utilizing this pipeline, NMP's Space Technology 6 Project is developing two experimental technologies in partnership with the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and various commercial technology providers: Draper Laboratory Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Interface Control Systems of Melbourne, Florida.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, of Pasadena, California, is developing the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment (Sciencecraft). Sciencecraft is software technology that allows spacecraft to process data onboard, determine what data are scientifically important, and select interesting science observations to pursue. The Sciencecraft team also includes Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Interface Control Systems.

The Draper Laboratory, Inc., is developing the Inertial Stellar Compass (Compass). Compass is a miniature star camera and microelectromechanical gyros system that enables a spacecraft to determine its attitude (direction and pointing) whether spinning at a very low rate or stable.

Partnering   Partnering accomplishes NMP's objective of reducing costs while space testing new technologies and concepts.



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