Suborbital spaceflight drastically increases opportunities for new space-based research. Suborbital flights are significantly less expensive and have the ability to fly more often than alternative options, allowing more organizations to conduct experiments in space. New vehicles will have functional and operational improvements that allow rapid access to payloads after flight, and quick turnaround times between flights. Suborbital vehicles will complement experiments conducted on other platforms such as parabolic flights and the International Space Station, delivering additional data and allowing researchers to manage the risk associated with more expensive research opportunities.

Science Payload Funding Opportunities

NEW NASA Human Exploration Research Opportunity (HERO)-Human Tended Suborbital Experimentation.  

NASA’s Research Opportunitites In Space And Earth Sciences (ROSES) – Select Proposals

NASA’s Research Opportunities In Space And Earth Sciences (ROSES) solicits basic and applied research in support of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD).  This opportunity covers all aspects of basic and applied supporting research and technology in space and Earth sciences.  Particularly relevant areas of research include aircraft, stratospheric balloon, suborbital rocket, International Space Station, and suborbital reusable launch vehicle investigations.  Awards may range from under $100k per year for focused, limited efforts (e.g. data analysis) to more than $1M per year for extensive activities.  Learn More >>

(Suborbital Selections 2013 in order of Paper Submission Deadline)

A.30 Earth Venture Suborbital   (9/27/2013)
D.9 Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship for Astrophysics (11/7/2014)
D.3 Astrophysics Research and Analysis Program (3/21/2014)
D.8 Strategic Astrophysics Technology (3/21/2014)
A.25 Climate Change, Atmospheric Science(5/13/2014)

NASA’s Hands-On Project Experience (HOPE) – Ongoing Proposals

Project HOPE provides an opportunity for a team of early entry NASA managers and engineers to propose, design, develop, build and launch a suborbital flight project over the course of a year.  The program is designed to enable NASA practitioners in the early years of their careers to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to manage NASA’s future flight projects.  Learn More >>


NASA’s Game Changing Development (GCD) Program – Ongoing Proposals

The Game Changing Development (GCD) program investigates new ideas and approaches that may potentially influence future space missions and provide solutions to significant national needs.  The program solicits research efforts from across NASA, academia, industry and other government agencies and focuses on taking technologies from proof of concept through component testing.  GCD research will be done primarily in the laboratory; successful technologies may then transition to other programs or directly to flight missions.  Learn More >>



Suborbital Research Links

Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG) works to further the research and education potential of commercial suborbital launch vehicles.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program offers opportunities for researchers to fly payloads on commercial parabolic aircraft, suborbital reusable launch vehicles and balloon systems.

USRA Research Opportunities Program is a way for USRA Institute Directors to connect directly with individuals at academic institutions on research opportunities.

High Altitude Astrobiology Challenge is a competition challenging citizen scientists to build hardware for collecting microorganisms at the edge of space.


Suborbital Publications

Revitalizing NASA’s Suborbital Program

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Laboratory for Astronomy & Solar Physics – Section 6: Suborbital Missions