Commercial Suborbital Research Program: Overview

Introduction: Welcome to the Commercial Suborbital Research Program collaboration forum.  NASA, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and the Universities Space Research Association have begun collaborations with commercial suborbital transportation providers to explore the opportunities for science, technology, education and workforce development enabled by frequent, affordable, autonomous and human-tended suborbital research. 

Workshop Results: This site is intended to provide information on upcoming workshops and events, and share results from prior workshops. The following Workshops have been held to date:

Benefits of Commercial Suborbital Research: Through a user-focused program, private and government-sponsored researchers, engineers, technologists and educators will be able to conduct innovative, low-cost, research activities in near-space:
  • Commercial suborbital vehicles provide many technical benefits to the end user, including:
  • Reducing the risk for use of new technologies in future missions
  • Exploring novel environments to yield new discoveries in science and technology
  • Access to 3-4 minutes of microgravity for discovery and testing
  • Routine recovery of payload for comprehensive analysis
  • Frequent flights enabling iteration, learning, trends analysis and opportunistic research
  • These vehicles also provide new options for career development and public engagement, including:
  • Inspiring new careers in aerospace by enabling hands-on discovery and development
  • Training the workforce of the future through experience with the spaceflight environment
  • Creating greater excitement in the space program through a higher frequency of missions
Comparison with Other Science Platforms: The chart below provides a comparison between various platforms for conducting microgravity and suborbital research, including sounding rockets and parabolic aircraft: