Suborbital Research

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) seeks to further and infuse innovative and state-of-the-art technologies and scientific advancements to its wide range of current and future Earth, lunar, cis-lunar, planetary and deep space exploration missions. To achieve this, SMD is committed to providing researchers from US institutions with opportunities for conducting suborbital flight testing for demonstrating and advancing their research/technology payloads.

Suborbital platforms offer numerous advantages and opportunities that enable researchers to advance and prepare their experiment/technology payloads for demanding orbital missions, particularly since these platforms can offer testing environments that are not typically available through ground-based techniques.

To this end, suborbital flight testing can serve as an invaluable step towards developing robust payloads that can be utilized in advanced and long-term NASA observation or exploration missions. In this manner, an experiment/technology can evolve from a benchtop device onto a proven payload with suborbital flight heritage, therefore paving the way for potential orbital mission infusion.


Suborbital questions should be directed to Thomas Hams (thomas.hams-1@nasa.gov) and Lucas Moxey (lucas.e.moxey@nasa.gov).

Please direct questions or corrections on this page to SARA@nasa.gov