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Strategic Framework

Charting the horizon of NASA technology development

Space Technology Mission Directorate Framework

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) organizes the agency’s technology investments into the Strategic Framework, with the goal of addressing its desired outcomes through technology development. The framework is comprised of Strategic Outcomes, grouped into categories of investment.
Envisioned Futures describe how Capability Areas are working to achieve Strategic Outcomes. Businesses, organizations, agencies, academic institutions, and individuals with a stake in space technology can review the shortfall list and descriptions.

Ensure American global leadership in Space Technology

Beyond describing what technical priorities STMD should invest in, the Strategic Framework includes a Thrust that describes how STMD should invest its time, energy, and funding to achieve impact. The Lead Thrust includes three Outcomes that describe STMD’s socioeconomic goals that support and expand NASA’s technology development impact.
Advance US space technology innovation and competitiveness in a global context

Address national aerospace challenges; Enable rapid and efficient technology development; Take risks; capture and disseminate knowledge.

Encourage technology-driven economic growth with an emphasis on the expanding space economy

Foster the creation and growth of aerospace businesses; Increase the commercialization of NASA-supported technologies; Partner in innovative ways for research and development to expand the aerospace sector; Collaborate with stakeholders in geographic communities across the country.

Inspire and develop a diverse and powerful U.S. aerospace technology community

Make it easier for all U.S. individuals and organizations to contribute to NASA technology development; Increase representation of diverse and non-traditional groups across STMD’s portfolio to leverage creativity and innovation from across America; Cultivate a pipeline of technologists and innovators.

Rapid, Safe, and Efficient Space Transportation

Space Nuclear Propulsion

Develop nuclear technologies enabling fast in-space transits.

Cryogenic Fluid Management

Develop cryogenic storage, transport, and fluid management technologies for surface and in-space applications.

Advanced Propulsion

Produce advanced propulsion technologies that enable future science/commercial/exploration missions.

Expanded Access to Diverse Surface Destinations

Precision Landing and Hazard Avoidance

Develop capabilities to enable lighting-independent precise landing on any terrain.

Entry, Descent, and Landing to Enable Science Missions

Develop capabilities enabling small to large missions to efficiently enter any atmospheres within our solar system.

20t and Lunar/Mars Global Access

Develop capabilities to support global access to the moon and Mars including accurate prediction of plume surface interaction.

Sustainable Living and Working Farther from Earth

Advanced Habitation Systems (AHS)

Keep astronauts healthy and productive while living in space and planetary vehicles.

In-Situ Resource Utilization

Develop scalable ISRU production/utilization capabilities including sustainable commodities on the lunar and Mars surface.

Power and Energy Storage Systems

Develop sustainable power sources and other surface utilities to enable continuous lunar and Mars surface operations.

Thermal Management Systems

Develop thermal management technologies that enable surviving the extreme lunar and Mars environments.

Excavation, Construction, and Outfitting (ECO)

Develop methodologies for moving regolith for in-situ purposes such as commodities extraction and constructing infrastructure like landing pads and other structures using in-situ resources.

Surface Systems

Develop surface support systems to enable long duration surface stays.

Transformative Missions and Discoveries

Advanced Avionics

Develop advanced avionics to meet agency objectives, including radiation-hardened spaceflight computing technologies.

Advanced Manufacturing

Develop both terrestrial and in-space manufacturing technologies to make commercial and exploration missions more capable and affordable.

Autonomous Systems and Robotics

Develop autonomy and robotics technologies that enable and enhance the full range of science and exploration missions (both with and without crew).

Communications and Navigation

Develop communication, navigation, and timing approaches to support diverse asset (human or robotic) needs including establishing asset location in-space.

In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM) and Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Capture (RPOC)

Develop technologies for in-space creation, maintenance, and evolution of space assets leveraging expanding in-space infrastructure.

Small Spacecraft Technologies

Develop technologies for small spacecraft and responsive launch to rapidly expand space capabilities at dramatically lower costs.

Sensors, Instruments, and Observatories

Develop technologies for science instrumentation supporting new discoveries.