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Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems


The SBIR focus area of Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) includes the suite of technologies for atmospheric entry as well as descent and landing on both atmospheric and non-atmospheric bodies. EDL mission segments are used in both robotic planetary science missions and human exploration missions beyond Low Earth Orbit, and many technologies have an application to emerging commercial space capabilities such as lunar landing, low-cost space access, small spacecraft, and asset return. 

Robust, efficient, and predictable EDL systems fulfill the critical function of delivering payloads to lunar and planetary surfaces through challenging environments, within mass and cost constraints. Future NASA Artemis and planetary science missions will require new technologies to break through historical constraints on delivered mass, enable sustained human presence, or go to entirely new planets and moons. Even where heritage systems exist, no two planetary missions are exactly “build-to-print,” leading to frequent challenges from environmental uncertainty, risk posture, and resource constraints that can be dramatically improved with investments in EDL technologies. EDL relies on validated models, ground tests, high-fidelity simulations, and sensor technologies for system development and certification. Both new capabilities and improved assessment and prediction of state-of-the-art systems are important facets of this focus area. 

The subtopics in this Focus Area generally align with the Entry, Descent, and Landing flight regimes, plus include flight instrumentation and ground testing relevant to EDL. In future solicitations, the intent is to maintain these general subtopic categories and revise their content based on Agency needs and priorities along with the evolution and maturation of EDL technologies. Focal STTR solicitations will also be included in the annual solicitations for advancing EDL capabilities.

The SBIR subtopics and their overarching content descriptions are: 

·       Z7.01 Entry, Descent, and Landing Flight Sensors and Ground Test Technologies: Seeks sensors and components for safe precision landing, entry-environment characterization, heatshield instrumentation, and other EDL flight systems and ground-test diagnostics and electronics capabilities.

·       Z7.03 Entry and Descent Systems Technologies: Contains hypersonic materials, aeroshell systems, and modeling advances, including deployable aeroshells for EDL and asset return and recovery. Includes smaller-scale systems appropriate for small spacecraft applications. 

·       Z7.04 Landing Systems Technologies: Covers landing engines, plume-surface interaction modeling, testing, instrumentation, and landing attenuation systems.

·    The STTR subtopic covers various EDL technologies for high-performance simulations, advanced algorithms, materials, sensors, instrumentation, testing, or other EDL-related capabilities. 

Please refer to the subtopic write-ups for the specific content and scope solicited this year.  

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