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In Space Production Applications (InSPA) Flight Development andDemonstrations on ISS


Scope Title:

Use ofthe ISS to Foster Commercialization of LEOSpace


This subtopicseeks proposals that leverage the unique capabilities of the ISS todevelop and test new technologies that will lead to in-spacemanufacturing of advanced materials and products for use on Earth.Proposals should clearly describe how development of its technologiesand products will benefit from the space environment to produce advancedmaterials and products to a level of quality and performance superior tothat which is possible on Earth. In addition, the value of theapplication, the market size, and the role space plays in developing abetter product should be clearly presented. The intent is totransition the results of this subtopic into customer-scale, in-spacemanufacturing products to achieve U.S. Government objectives fordeveloping the LEO economy.  


Of specific interest are proposals that plan todevelop valuable terrestrial applications that could lead to commercialmarkets in LEO. The emphasis is on producing goods or materials in spacethat are superior to what can be achieved on Earth and serve importantnational needs, benefit humanity, or lead to sustainablemarkets. Use of the ISS should facilitate validation of theseapplications and enable development of a product at reduced cost toattract significant capital and lead to growth of new and emerging LEOcommercial markets in the following areas: advanced materials andbiomanufacturing.  


Proposals that can be implemented on the ISSwithin 2.5 years from first funds to first flight are highlyencouraged to apply. Proposers with little or no flightexperience are encouraged to contact the operator of the ISSNational Laboratory—the Center for the Advancement of Sciencein Space (CASIS)—to discuss the practicalities of implementingtheir concept. Many first-time fliers have succeededin flying their manufacturing or production prototypes on the ISS overthe past 5 years. A high percentage of InSPA Small BusinessInnovation Research (SBIR) awards going back to 2016 have already flownat least once, and often more than once, on the ISS. Inaddition, proposed production strategies should be appropriate for thecrewed vehicle and fit within the accommodations and constraints of theISS National Laboratory.   


For further information on InSPA goals andopportunities, please visit

Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of theProject: 3 to 6

Primary TechnologyTaxonomy:

  • Level 1 12Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems, andManufacturing
  • Level 2 12.4Manufacturing

DesiredDeliverables of Phase I and PhaseII:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Prototype
  • Hardware
  • Software

DesiredDeliverables Description:

For Phase I, as aminimum, development and test of a bench-top prototype and a writtenreport detailing evidence of demonstrated prototype technology in thelaboratory or in a relevant environment and stating the future pathtoward hardware demonstration in orbit. A preliminary assessment of thetechnology business case (cost and revenue forecast, market size,potential customers, etc.) is also required.

Desired deliverables at the end of Phase II would be a preliminarydesign and concept of operations, development and test of an engineeringdevelopment unit in a relevant environment (ground or space), and areport containing detailed science requirements, results of testing, andan updated business case analysis and/or applicationplan. Concepts that can achieve flight demonstration on asuborbital flight or on the ISS during Phase II are especiallyvaluable.

State of the Art and CriticalGaps:

The ISS is being used to stimulate both the supply and demand ofthe commercial LEO marketplace as NASA supports the development of theLEO space economy, while being aligned with the national goal to ensurethe United States remains a world leader of in-spacemanufacturing and production of advanced materials.

Relevance / ScienceTraceability:

This subtopic is in direct support ofNASA’s recent policy to enable commercial activities to takeplace aboard the ISS. The ISS capabilities will be used to furtherstimulate the demand for commercial products development and strengthenU.S. leadership in in-space manufacturing and production.


  • NASALEO Economy Strategy: and Solicitations:Where to Submit InSPA Proposals - NASA
  • SpaceStation Research & Technology at: SpaceStation Research Explorer on
  • Center for the Advancement of Science In Space, and In-SpaceProduction Applications (  Bothlinks are external.

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