Thirteen emerging technologies are scheduled for flight testing on five types of platforms ranging from high-altitude balloons to reusable spacecraft in 2013-14 under NASA’s Flight Operations Program, bolstering U.S. efforts to foster a commercial market in the suborbital realm.

The suppliers include Zero-G Corp., of Las Vegas, a parabolic aircraft operator; Near Space Corp., of Tillamook, Ore., a high-altitude balloon provider; Masten Space Systems, of Mojave, Calif., and UP Aerospace, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., both reusable suborbital vertical take off/landing operators; and Virgin Galactic of Las Cruces, N.M., a piloted runway-based suborbital flight operator.

The flight opportunities initiative, introduced by NASA in 2010 and currently funded within the agency’s $188 million a year cross-cutting space technology line, enables researchers to expose promising advanced technologies to brief periods of spaceflight as part of a measured development strategy. Nine investigations have been designated for parabolic flight, two for high-altitude balloons, one on a suborbital launch vehicle and one on a high-altitude balloon as well as a suborbital launch vehicle.

“These payloads represent more real progress in our goal of fostering a viable market for American commercial reusable suborbital platforms — access to near-space that provides the innovation needed for cutting-edge space technology research and development,” said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Program, in a Jan. 21 statement.

Investigations scheduled for parabolic flight testing include:

• Structural Dynamics Test of STACER Antenna Deployment in Microgravity, Kerri Cahoy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;

• UAH ChargerSat-2 Parabolic Flight Testing, Francis Wessling, University of Alabama in Huntsville;

• High Eccentric Resistive Overload (HERO) Device Demonstration during Parabolic Flight, Aaron Weaver, NASA’s Glenn Research Center;

• Assessing Otolith-Organ Function with Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMPs) in Parabolic Flight, Mark Shelhamer, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine;

• On the Performance of a Nanocatalyst-based Direct Ammonia Alkaline Fuel Cell (DAAFC) under Microgravity Conditions for Water Reclamation and Energy Applications, Carlos Cabrera, University of Puerto Rico;

• Dynamic and Static Behavior of a Flexible Fuel Hose in Zero-G, Allyson Buker, Jackson and Tull, Washington, D.C.;

• In-Flight Lab Analysis Technology Demonstration in Reduced Gravity, Emily Nelson, Glenn Research Center;

• Caging System for Drag-free Satellites, Robert Byer, Stanford University;

• Reduced Gravity Flight Demonstration of the Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System, Raymond Sedwick, University of Maryland.

Investigations designed for balloon flights of 100,000 ft. altitude include: Deployable Rigid Adjustable Guided Final Landing Approach Pinions, Jonathan Powers, Masten Space Systems; and Guided Parafoil High Altitude Research, Allen Lowry, Airborne Systems North America of CA Inc.. Santa Ana, Calif.

Meanwhile, Autolanding for Robotic Precursor Missions, Kevin Peterson, of Astrobotic Technology Inc., was designated for flight on a vertical launch and landing suborbital test vehicle.

Flight Testing of a UAT ADS-B Transmitter Prototype for Commercial Space Transportation Using Reusable Launch Vehicles, Richard Stansbury of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was designated for testing on multiple flight platforms.