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NASA Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan

NASA Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan

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NASA Strategic Space Technology
Investment Plan
NASA Strategic Space Technology
Investment Plan

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Published by: FedScoop on Feb 12, 2013
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Technical Challenges and Approach

Space radiation mitigation was rated the highest priority technology for human
spacefight in the NRC report. Human missions beyond LEO will require new
countermeasures and shielding technologies for space radiation, and developing
those technologies requires more specifc knowledge and understanding about
space radiation and its effects on humans. For the next four years, NASA will
invest in technologies such as improved radiation risk assessment models
to better understand and predict the effects of radiation, which will infuence
NASA’s concurrent investments in advanced radiation shielding and biological


Impact to NASA

The primary beneft of advancing space radiation mitigation technologies and
techniques is increased crew safety, which enables longer duration missions.
Improving crew safety depends on a mix of new technologies and techniques,
which can include radiation prediction (such as prediction of solar particle events),
radiation detection and risk modeling (to monitor local radiation environments),

biological countermeasures, and radiation protection technologies (such as

advanced materials for shielding or suits). The advancement of one technique
or technology can infuence another. For example, improving the accuracy of
radiation risk modeling can determine the value of certain shielding materials in
combination with a biological countermeasure, to determine their overall effcacy

in reducing risk. with current models and technologies, the risk of radiation

exposure limits missions beyond LEO to three months, but advancements in these
techniques and technologies for radiation mitigation could enable extended human

missions to the moon, near-earth asteroids (neas), or mars. as radiation also

impacts sensors and electronics, techniques for predicting high-radiation events
and mitigating their effects also improves the survivability of robotic missions.

Impact to Nation and Partners

NASA’s international and commercial partners and other Government agencies
have reported they could beneft from investment in space radiation mitigation
technologies. Commercial partners expressed interest specifcally in human
protection, and one Government agency cited radiation-hardened devices as a
potential beneft.


Potential Future Investments

Investments in space radiation mitigation technology will focus on risk assessment
modeling, radiation mitigation, and monitoring technology. Two potential four-
year investments in radiation mitigation are biological chemical measures and
multifunctional materials and structures for mass-effcient shielding. A potential
investment in monitoring technology is warning system onset prediction.

2012 Investments

NASA currently invests in 19 space radiation projects, managed by programs within
SMD, HEOMD, and OCT-STP, with development in both low and medium TRLs.
These projects include technologies for radiation characterization and monitoring,

radiation prediction, radiation risk modeling, biological countermeasures, and
radiation protection, including radiation shielding. The radworks project,

managed by the AES program, is developing prototypes of advanced, miniaturized
radiation measurement technologies, to be placed in integrated vehicle systems.
The project is also developing capabilities for a radiation solar particle event storm-
shelter. In the Game Changing Development program, the Advanced Radiation
Protection project is developing the Integrated Solar Energetic Proton (ISEP)
Event Alert Warning System and Monte Carlo Radiation Analysis of Detailed
Computer Aided Design Models (MC-CAD). ISEP will address gaps in mitigating
the operational impact of solar energetic proton events, while MC-CAD will provide
NASA the capability to accurately analyze the radiation shielding performance of

current and future space systems. The coupled System for assessing the Threat

of Solar Energetic Particle Events project, under the SBIR program, is developing a
system to help forecasters predict solar particle events and identify “all clear” time
periods when there is a low probability of such events occurring. This tool will be
a signifcant step in NASA’s ability to assess the possible impact of solar particle

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