NASA Opportunities to Advance Tipping Point Space Technologies through Public-Private Partnerships with American Industry

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017

NASA announces opportunities for public-private partnerships to achieve the agency’s strategic goals for expanding capabilities and opportunities in space. NASA seeks to enable industry to develop and qualify selected technologies for market through the solicitation​ titled "Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies” released on November 30.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is seeking industry-developed commercial space technologies that are at a “tipping point” in their development cycle. For the purpose of this Appendix, a space technology is at a Tipping Point if:

  • An investment in a ground demonstration or flight demonstration will result in:
    • a significant advancement of the technology’s maturation, and
    • a significant improvement in the offerors’ ability to successfully bring the technology to market, and,
  • previous investments have been made to mature the technology (e.g., venture capital, corporate investment, etc.) in preparation for commercialization, demonstrating a pre-existing plan to commercialize the technology, and,
  • the technology is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of at least 4 at time of submission of the preliminary proposal.

For this release of the Tipping Point solicitation, offerors have the option to address broader STMD Strategic Thrust (ST) areas. These ST areas do include descriptions of some technologies of particular interest to NASA. However, offerors are not limited to the technologies of particular interest and may address technologies that align with broader aspects of the ST areas.

This Tipping Point Appendix is soliciting space technology proposals in the following STMD Strategic Thrust (ST) areas:


  • ST1: Expand Utilization of Space ​ develop technologies that enable new in-space capabilities for future NASA missions, other government agencies, and that have viable commercial applications.
  • ST2: Enable Efficient and Safe Transportation Into and Through Space – development and demonstration of technologies to enable lower cost, reliable access to space, and to advance in-space transportation capabilities with a focus on improving efficiency and reducing trip times for human and robotic missions.
  • ST3: Increase Access to Planetary Surfaces – enable landing larger payloads on planetary surfaces more precisely and safely, and improving the performance and reliability of Earth entry systems.

Each proposal to the Tipping Point solicitation must be spearheaded by U.S. for-profit entity. Funding will occur through milestone payments as part of firm-fixed-price contracts that require a minimum 25 percent contribution from the industry partner.

The complete solicitation may be found online at the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES): The Mandatory Preliminary Proposal submissions are due by January 30, 2018. Questions and comments about this solicitation should be submitted via email to:


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