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Current, future, past missions & launch dates
News, features & press releases
News, features & press releases
News, features & press releases

Advanced Exploration Systems (AES)

AES develops and demonstrates prototype systems for life support, habitation, and EVA that will enable NASA to conduct future human missions beyond LEO, while reducing risk and lifecycle cost. AES focuses on advanced development of flight system concepts. This includes a Deep Space Habitat where the crew would live during transit on long missions and a Space Exploration Vehicle that would allow the crew to closely approach an asteroid, explore its surface, and conduct EVAs. AES demonstrates these systems in ground test beds, Earth-based field and underwater tests, and on-board ISS flight experiments.

AES uses innovative approaches for the rapid development of system concepts, such as small, focused teams of NASA engineers and technologists working with industry partners to gain hands-on experience. AES will pilot these processes to improve the affordability of future exploration programs.

Spacecraft Fire Safety Demo – Large-scale, in-flight fire propagation and suppression experiment using ATV.

AES Modular Power Systems – will infuse and demonstrate batteries, fuel cells, and other power modules for exploration ground system demonstrations; and, develop modular power design concepts that will guide the ground system demonstrations and modular…

EVA Flight Technologies – This project develops component technologies for advanced space suits to enable humans to conduct “hands-on” surface exploration and in-space operations outside habitats and vehicles. Technology development includes…

Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

Resolve – Development of the Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) experiment package, initiated in 2005, supported lunar robotic precursor missions that could be flown to the rim or into a permanently shadowed crater with…

Integrated Ground OPS
Logistics Reduction & Repurposing
-Demonstrate processing and repurposing of trash to reduce volume, recover water, and generate consumable gases.

Radiation Protection Technology – The greatest environmental risk to human spaceflight beyond the Earth’s magnetosphere is radiation. Ionizing radiation, galactic cosmic radiation (GCR), and solar cosmic radiation (SCR), is a significant risk to astronauts for all long-duration missions beyond…

Deep Space Habitat – Regardless of what surface they’re exploring, at the end of a long day collecting geological samples or performing scientific experiments, astronauts need a base of operations to return to. NASA architects, engineers and scientists are already busy creating…

Analog Missions – NASA is actively planning to expand human spaceflight and robotic exploration beyond low Earth orbit. To meet this challenge, a capability driven architecture will be developed to transport explorers to multiple destinations that each have their own unique space environments. Future destinations may include…