Nasa has chosen two proposals to study small satellite technologies to develop improved models to forecast space weather events.

According to Nasa, the proposals will improve science observations in deep space.

Nasa heliophysics deputy director Peg Luce said: “This is the first time that our heliophysics programme has funded this kind of technology demonstration.

“Providing the opportunity to mature and test technologies in deep space is a crucial step towards incorporating new techniques into future missions.”

The funding for the two proposals stands at $0.4m for nine-month mission concept studies. Nasa selected the proposals based on potential technology and science value, as well as the feasibility of development plans.

Both of them support Nasa’s heliophysics programme, which aims to provide a better understanding on the nature of space throughout the solar system, how it adapts to a constant flow of energy and particles from the Sun, and it interrelates with planetary atmospheres.

Upon completion of the study period, one of the proposals will be chosen to launch as a secondary payload with Nasa’s interstellar mapping and acceleration probe (IMAP) spacecraft in October 2024.

How disruptive will the COVID-19 outbreak be on aerospace supply chains?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Using Nasa’s cost-saving rideshare initiative, the selected proposal will be accompanied by two other science missions namely Nasa science mission of opportunity and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) space weather forecasting mission.

Nasa Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said: “By focussing on SmallSats and capitalising on the cost savings of sharing a launch, we can test and advance cutting-edge technologies at a reasonable price.

“We are leading the charge in using this innovative solution to test new mission paradigms and technologies and, in turn, to reap great rewards researching our neighbourhood in space.”

The two proposals for Nasa’s demonstrations are Science-Enabling Technologies for Heliophysics (SETH) and Solar Cruiser.