Smallsat Technology Partnerships

Funding Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

This appendix supports the development and/or demonstration of new technologies and capabilities for small spacecraft by U.S. colleges and universities in collaboration with NASA through award of cooperative agreements. Projects may be for ground-based technology development or development of spacecraft or payloads for suborbital, balloon or orbital space flight technology demonstrations.

The Small Spacecraft Technology program within the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is chartered to enable mission capabilities that are more rapid, more transformative, and more affordable than previously achievable. To that end, the Small Spacecraft Technology program seeks to:

  • Enable the execution of missions at much lower cost than previously possible.
  • Substantially reduce the time required for development of spacecraft, from authority to proceed until initial launch capability.
  • Enable and demonstrate new mission architectures that small spacecraft are uniquely suited for.
  • Expand the capability of small spacecraft to execute missions at new destinations and in challenging new environments.
  • Enable the augmentation of existing assets and future missions with supporting small spacecraft

The Small Spacecraft Technology program seeks development projects and demonstration missions that are small, affordable, rapid, and transformative. All efforts will focus on small spacecraft capabilities that are relevant to NASA’s missions in science and exploration, including those with crosscutting applications to the needs of the broader small spacecraft community in industry, academia, and other government agencies. 


  • Required Notice of Intent: Oct. 4, 2019
  • Proposals Due: Nov. 6, 2019

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility is limited to U.S. college and university teams, including faculty, undergraduate and/or graduate students. The Principal Investigator (PI) submitting a proposal and leading a university team shall be affiliated with a U.S. college or university (including community colleges), accredited in and having a campus located in the U.S. 

Partnering between the university team and a NASA center or Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is required in all funded Smallsat Technology Partnership projects. The NASA team member must be either a civil servant or a member of the technical staff from JPL. NASA contractors (except for JPL employees) may not be funded partners or collaborators on Smallsat Technology Partnership projects.

Each proposal submitted for this appendix must be limited to a single Technology Topic Area and the PI must specify the topic when proposing. An individual is limited to being the PI on a single proposal. A team member, including any individual who is the PI on another proposal, may be a team member on more than one proposal. Proposing U.S. colleges or universities or NASA centers may submit more than one proposal, provided that, if selected, the offeror can carry out all proposed efforts.



Amount Description

: Maximum of $200,000 each year for up to two years ($400,000 maximum) per award. In addition, a NASA civil servant or JPL employee labor allocation of up to 0.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) per award, per year will be available to support NASA involvement. Proposal teams can also request up to $25,000 of procurement funding for the NASA partner at the second year of a project to cover NASA expenses in the collaboration. This procurement funding may be used by the NASA partner to purchase hardware or for use of NASA test facilities that support the partnership. There is no NASA procurement funding for the first year. 

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students


Engineering and Physical Sciences

External Deadline

October 4, 2019