The Flight Opportunities Program (FOP) exemplifies NASA’s shift in policy from a public driven space industry towards an emphasis on public-private partnerships. The Payloads team, as part of FOP, is responsible for soliciting, selecting and shepherding payloads that require flight testing in order to mature technologies, not only to reduce risk in a deep space or manned space missions, but also to develop critical technologies with multiple applications in space. Several companies have been awarded contracts to provide these flight opportunities and each have unique capabilities to fly payloads in environments that closely imitate the environment of space missions. As part of the Payloads team, we are working to develop a tradeoffs analysis diagram that payload providers could utilize throughout the proposal process with the end goal of choosing the platform that best advances their research. Principal Investigators (PI), when submitting proposals to FOP, would benefit greatly from guidance related to the tradeoffs for use of each platform, as these are not readily apparent to payload providers. In addition, it is essential that demand for flights continues to increase in order to reduce costs per flight and this analysis may support this goal by reducing barriers to participation for researchers.


Applied Mathematics | Astrophysics and Astronomy | Mathematics | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Dougal Maclise

Lab site

NASA Ames Research Center (ARC)

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/122


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.