NASA In-Space Production Applications (InSPA) Priorities for Funding – A Quick Overview

NASA makes awards to small and large U.S. businesses that seek to develop and demonstrate technologies on the ISS that lead to commercially viable and sustainable InSPA in low-Earth orbit (LEO). NASA’s priority is technologies that advance solutions for national interest or public benefit by leveraging the capabilities and resources of the ISS.

This article reviews NASA’s InSPA related goals, objectives and associated technology interest areas.

Current Status

NASA is currently soliciting proposals. Awards made as of 2022 are described in NASA Awards Seed Money to Stimulate Demand for Future In-Space Commercial Markets.

InSPA Goals

NASA hopes to accomplish three major strategic goals for InSPA awards:

  1. Serving national interests by developing technologies that strengthen U.S. technological leadership, improve national security, and create high-quality jobs.
  2. Providing benefits to humanity by developing products that significantly improve the quality of life for people on Earth.
  3. Enabling the development of an economy in LEO by stimulating scalable and sustainable non-NASA utilization of future commercial LEO destinations or orbital platforms.

InSPA Objectives

Successful InSPA proposals will mature in-space manufacturing concepts that produce high-value items for use on Earth with potential for scalability and capturing sizeable markets, creating new markets, or disrupting existing Earth-based technologies by taking advantage of the unique environment of the ISS.

InSPA Technology Interest Areas

NASA has prioritized the technology areas identified below, but will consider other technologies that may lead to a scalable, financially self-sustaining in-space production capability in LEO for on-Earth applications.

Advanced Materials

  • Metal Organic Frameworks
  • Metamaterials
  • Ceramics
  • Container-less Processing
  • Exotic Glasses & Fibers
  • Alloys

Crystal Production

  • Inorganic Crystals
  • Large Molecule Crystals
  • Small Molecule Crystals
  • Uniform Crystals
  • Industrial Crystals

Thin Film Deposition

  • Artificial Retinas
  • Semiconductors
  • Graphene

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

  • Disease Modelling
  • Tissue Chips
  • Organoids
  • Stem Cells
  • 3D Bio-fabrication

Source: NASA