Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions (TDEM) Program incorporated into new, three-pronged Strategic Astrophysics Technology (SAT) Program; Proposals due 26 March 2010.

As part of NASA’s ongoing efforts to expand its support for the development of mission critical technologies, the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters recently issued an amendment to the ROSES 2009 NRA entitled “Strategic Astrophysics Technology” (SAT; ROSES 2009 appendix D.13, Link). The SAT solicitation builds on the success of the precursor, stand-alone “Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions” (TDEM) solicitation that was introduced in May 2009. Like TDEM, SAT is designed to support the maturation of key technologies to the point at which they are suitable for incorporation into astrophysics flight missions. However, the SAT Program significantly expands the Division’s support for technology development, bringing together three programs—the existing TDEM as well as analogous programs in the Cosmic Origins and Physics of the Cosmos science areas—as distinct elements under a single umbrella solicitation.

It should be emphasized that the TDEM program will maintain its identity as a distinct element under the SAT banner. The three programs are packaged together under a single solicitation to ensure uniformity and to facilitate coordination between the programs.

Furthermore, to enhance consistency and minimize redundancy with the Astrophysics Research and Analysis Program (APRA), which supports “basic” research into the new technologies that will ideally feed into the SAT programs, the schedule for the SAT 2009 solicitation has been synchronized with that of the APRA 2009 solicitation. That means that Notices of Intent to propose (NOIs) to any of the three SAT program elements—TDEM included—will be due on 12 February 2010, and proposals will be due on 26 March 2009.

Note that, in effect, this means that there will be two TDEM solicitations under the ROSES 2009 NRA, although the two address different funding cycles—funding for proposals selected under the original TDEM09 solicitation will be funded in FY10 and FY11, while those selected under the TDEM element of the new SAT09 solicitation (“TDEM09-2”) will be funded in FY11 and FY12.

For planning purposes, it is expected that this new program structure and cadence will be maintained without further modifications for the foreseeable future—i.e. SAT will be a component in the ROSES 2010 solicitation and its schedule will be aligned with that of the APRA 2010 solicitation (proposals due ca. March 2011).

If you have any questions about the TDEM program or the new SAT solicitation, please feel free to contact the TDEM Program Officer, Douglas Hudgins, at