42 U.S. Code § 18326 - Development of technologies and in-space capabilities for beyond near-Earth space missions
(a) Development authorized
The Administrator may initiate activities to develop the following:
(2) In-space capabilities such as refueling and storage technology, orbital transfer stages, innovative in-space propulsion technology, communications, and data management that facilitate a broad range of users (including military and commercial) and applications defining the architecture and design of such missions.
In developing technologies and capabilities under subsection (a), the Administrator may make investments—
(1) in space technologies such as advanced propulsion, propellant depots, in situ resource utilization, and robotic payloads or capabilities that enable human missions beyond low-Earth orbit ultimately leading to Mars;
(2) in a space-based transfer vehicle including these technologies with an ability to conduct space-based operations that provide capabilities—
(B) to provide opportunities for in-space servicing of and delivery to multiple space-based platforms; and
(c) Utilization of ISS as testbed
The Administrator may utilize the ISS as a testbed for any technology or capability developed under subsection (a) in a manner consistent with the provisions of this chapter.