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In search of funds, NASA’s Johnson Space Center offers its technical expertise to outsiders

NASA's neutral
buoyancy lab

The NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, is sounding a lot like an out-of-work job candidate trying to impress a potential employer with its wide range of technical capabilities that it swears can immediately be put to work on that employer’s behalf.

Does your company work on display systems? If so, NASA’s expertise in “human-centered design and evaluation of lighting, viewing, and display systems” might prove extremely valuable. 

Perhaps your organization is developing state-of-the-art ear buds for listening to music on a smartphone. The space technicians at the Johnson Space Center, whose “world-class capabilities, include acoustics modeling, requirements allocation, and implementation of appropriate noise controls using flight-certified acoustics materials, acoustic testing, and noise remediation assistance,” might make ideal partners. 

Or, suppose, your company is working on a new weight loss program. Perhaps you should pick the brains of NASA’s experts, who regularly perform “analyses of blood and urine samples for biochemical endocrine, and other physiological markers, in addition to detailed dietary intake assessment.”

In short, NASA is ready, willing and able to put decades of its mounting expertise to work on behalf of government, university and commercial activities.

“These capabilities can be of great benefit to the nation by enhancing technological research and development, increasing the nation’s economic vitality, expanding human knowledge, and preserving United States critical skills,” explains a NASA sources sought notice released on July 8.

The Space Center believes its expertise can be applied in a variety of industries and applications, such as first responders, energy, petrochemical, medical, transportation, advanced manufacturing, robotics, aerospace and government agencies (such as DoD and DHS.)

“The expectation is that NASA [Johnson Space Center] will be fully reimbursed for all costs incurred in the performance of work…,” insists the notice.

NASA identifies at least 16 areas in which its employees’ expertise might be useful outside the space agency:

1. Human health and performance;

2. Robotics;

3. Counterfeit parts detection;

4. Fastener and material testing;

5. Workmanship training;

6. Estimating risk and performance during system or project design;

7. Simulation;

8. Software;

9. Crew exercise systems;

10. Structural and manufacturing testing, analysis and engineering;

11. Imaging science;

12. Battery design, development and testing, and cell analysis and testing;

13. Large-scale underwater testing in controlled environment (neutral buoyancy laboratory);

14. Environmental and life support systems, air and water monitoring and recycling, active thermal control and extreme environment protective suites;

15. Crew interface rapid prototyping lab

16. Propulsion system design, development and testing.


“With the release of this Announcement, JSC looks forward to sharing its unique capabilities to meet the needs of others,” says the agency’s notice. “Partnering will foster innovation through collaboration, assist in solving complex problems relevant to life on earth and create a more efficient and effective Government.”

Responses from interested parties are due by September 8.

Further information is available from Dana Altmon-Cary, a NASA contracting officer, at 281-483-8228 or [email protected].



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