What is HEDS-UP?


Human Exploration and Development of Space-University Partners (HEDS-UP) is a mechanism for involving people from universities (faculty and students) in one of civilizations grandest undertakings, the human exploration and development of the space frontier. By building strong linkages between the U. S. Space Program, administered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the universities, the voices of imagination, innovation and vision that reside in the university community can be combined with the engineering and technical skills of NASA to advance space exploration and development as well as the educational and research objectives of the universities. From NASA’s point of view, the universities can be prime contributors of new ideas and effective partners in developing and implementing scientific, engineering and technological innovations associated with human exploration and development of space. From the universities perspective, mechanisms are needed that allow visibility into NASA programs and directions and access to communications channels that allow universities to identify and propose the areas where they can contribute to the enterprise.

The Human Exploration and Development of Space is a movement rather than a program. It is multifaceted, involving technical, legal, business, humanitarian, philosophical, and practical issues in practically every area that is associated with everyday life on Earth. In its beginnings, most of the work has been and will be technical - figuring out the possible and optimal means of sending payloads and humans into space and conducting beneficial work in space, on the Moon and on Mars. With developments now planned or anticipated, the cost of working in space will diminish and the breadth of activities in space will increase. Discussions of human exploration of Mars, space industrialization and space tourism conducted now anticipate reduced cost, improved capability and a much wider sphere of activity in space. If carried to logical conclusions, these same thoughts move in the direction of self-sufficient human settlements outside of Earth, which could be as complex as terrestrial society is now. Although settlement is not the objective of NASA’s HEDS program, it is surely within the scope of consideration for the HEDS-UP program. Indeed, the timescale for HEDS activities is very long, and the universities, as institutions, should be prepared to participate with longterm objectives in mind.

In the short term, HEDS-UP will be represented by: (a) an infrastructure, recognizing the importance of communications; and (b) projects, which provide avenues for exchange of ideas and problem solutions.

The Infrastructure will provide services to the universities and to NASA through the mechanism of communications channels and data bases, and their utilization to promote understanding of HEDS objectives, problems and needs to the university community on one hand and the resources/capabilities/skills of the universities to the NASA side.

Projects will be organized elements in which the universities can contribute to NASA thinking through the conduct of design studies, collaborative research, conferences, and other means. The projects developed under HEDS-UP have the objective of improving the interaction between NASA and the Universities. HEDS-UP anticipates that opportunities to perform specific research and development to meet NASA needs will result from HEDS-UP projects; however, HEDS-UP is not a funding mechanism for university research and development.

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