CAMBRIDGE, MA—NASA has selected Draper, one of America’s first space companies, to provide development and operations support for the avionics software suite that will guide the agency’s next generation of human-rated spacecraft on missions beyond low-Earth orbit.
Under a contract worth potentially $49 million over five years, Draper will support the aeroscience and flight mechanics division within the Johnson Space Center’s engineering directorate.
NASA intends to use software developed through the new contract in the International Space Station, Orion spacecraft and other human transportation vehicles designed to travel beyond low-Earth orbit.
The contract calls for Draper to provide support services that include a full range of guidance, navigation and control tools, integrated avionics and autonomous flight operations systems. Draper will also support development of simulation tools and flight software, perform flight-mode-specific analysis, define system architecture, execute test and verification activities and provide sustaining engineering.
The five-year performance period began in June 2021 and will continue through May 2026. Draper provided similar services to the agency under a prior award, valued at $38.7 million.
Draper has made contributions to many aspects of the country’s space program, including the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and the Apollo Program—in fact, Draper received the first major contract on the Apollo Program. Today Draper contributes to NASA’s Artemis program, including Orion and Gateway, and develops technologies for human spaceflight and exploration, including capabilities for the Safe and Precise Landing Integrated Capabilities Evolution (SPLICE) project.
“As with our past contributions to the U.S. space program, Draper is proud to support the next generation of human-rated spacecraft and excited to continue to contribute to the next space exploration programs and the new space economy,” said Rick Loffi, manager of Draper’s Houston office.
The majority of the work will take place at Draper’s facilities in Houston. Draper is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has operated in Houston since 1965.