#suborbital

Watch this video first: The Earth as seen through the eyes of a GoPro during suborbital flight (November 2015).

Flight Opportunities (website) is one of the programs in the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). It was established late 2010 to nurture the emerging commercial suborbital launch industry. Today it supports capability development in both the commercial suborbital and orbital small launcher industries.

In the suborbital realm, we work with all players in the market: supply, demand and regulation. We provide grants to non-USGOV researchers to buy flight services from commercial providers and we keep an 'open tab' (an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity, or IDIQ contract) to fly USGOV research on proven platforms (e.g. Blue OriginMasten Space SystemsUP Aerospace, and others). We also have ongoing efforts to support commercial capability development in both the suborbital and smallsat orbital launch provider market through private-public partnerships. 

The Annual Reports give a good overview of the first 5 years of the program, where the focus was on bootstrapping the program and bringing it to its current stable position in the Space Technology Mission Directorate. The budget for the program has been ~$10 million for the first five years 2011-2015. It was raised to ~$15 million in FY2016 (October 2015) to start the new 'small launch' (suborbital + smallsat orbital) capability development initiative.