NASA Rideshare Policy Revamp to Broaden Science Missions’ Access
Aly Mendoza-Hill, head of the Rideshare Office in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said the agency’s rideshare policy is being updated for better alignment with current developments and challenges in deploying science missions in space.
NASA will provide other rideshare options, including its Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare contract system and Artemis missions, Mendoza-Hill disclosed during the November meeting of the National Academies’ Committee on Solar and Space Physics. Emerging new technologies, like orbital transfer vehicles, could also bring greater flexibility for future rideshare missions, she added.
According to Mendoza-Hill, the updated science missions’ rideshare policy is expected to be issued in 2024, SpaceNews reported.
NASA’s rideshare arrangement, which was launched in 2018 and followed by the establishment of the Rideshare Office in 2020, has facilitated several science and technology demonstration missions. One was the LOFTID rideshare payload, a NASA inflatable heat shield technology demonstration launched by Atlas 5 in 2022 along with its JPSS-2 weather satellite main cargo.
Past rideshare challenges that the policy revamp will address include previous difficulties, such as the changes on the Lunar Trailblazer mission and the Janus mission’s cancellation.
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