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Materials, Materials Research, Structures, and Assembly


As NASA strives to explore deeper into space than ever before, lightweight structures and advanced materials have been identified as a critical need. The Lightweight Materials, Structures, Advanced Assembly and Construction focus area seeks innovative technologies and systems that will reduce mass, improve performance, lower cost, be more resilient and extend the life of structural systems. Reliability will become an enabling consideration for deep space travel where frequent and rapid supply and resupply capabilities are not possible.  

Improvement in all of these areas is critical to future missions. Applications include structures and materials for launch, in-space and surface systems, deployable and assembled systems, integrated structural health monitoring (SHM) and technologies to accelerate structural certification. Since this focus area covers a broad area of interests, specific topics and subtopics are chosen to enhance and or fill gaps in the space and exploration technology development programs as well as to complement other mission directorate structures and materials needs. 

Specific interests include but are not limited to: 

  • Improved performance and cost from advances in composite, metallic and ceramic material systems as well as nanomaterial and nanostructures.
  • Improved performance and mass reduction in innovative lightweight structural systems, extreme environments structures and multifunctional/multipurpose materials and structures.
  • Improved cost, launch mass, system resiliency and extended life time by advancing technologies to enable large structures that can be deployed, assembled/constructed, reconfigured and serviced in-space or on planetary surfaces.
  • Improved life and risk mitigation to damage of structural systems by advancing technologies that enhance nondestructive evaluation and structural health monitoring.
  • Improved approaches that provide the development of extreme reliability technologies. 

The specific needs and metrics for this year's focus technology needs are requested in detail in the topic and subtopic descriptions.

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