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NASA TechLeap Prize Universal Payload Interface Challenge Launched

October 16, 2023

Develop interface systems that easily integrate diverse space payloads onto flight vehicles

NASA is calling on innovators to help solve some of the challenges in rapidly testing technology payloads across a wide range of commercial flight vehicles and test environments. As NASA explores the unknown in air and space, the agency is making increased use of commercial suborbital vehicles, spacecraft, and lunar landers to help advance new capabilities. However, the process to ensure payloads can properly interface with a host vehicle is currently complex, time-consuming, and can vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle, as well as between suborbital flights, orbital flights, and beyond.

To change the pace of space by moving technologies into flight testing and between different flight environments as quickly as possible, NASA’s Flight Opportunities program is asking businesses, academic institutions, entrepreneurs, and other innovators to develop a flight-ready universal payload interface for its third NASA TechLeap Prize.

The NASA TechLeap Prize’s Universal Payload Interface Challenge  invites applicants to propose an optimized “system of systems” to enable easy integration of diverse technology payloads onto various commercial suborbital vehicles, orbital platforms, and planetary landers. The proposed universal payload interfaces should seamlessly adapt a wide range of small space payloads – be they technologies, laboratory instruments, or scientific experiments – for flight testing.

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