NASA Issues Call for Visionary Advanced Technology Concepts

Image Credit: NASA/NIAC

WASHINGTON — NASA’s Space Technology Program is looking for far-out
ideas. The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, or NIAC, program is
seeking proposals for revolutionary concepts with the potential to
transform future aerospace missions. Proposed concepts should enable
new capabilities or significantly alter current approaches to
launching, building and operating space systems.

NIAC projects are chosen for their innovative and visionary
characteristics, technical substance, and early development stage —
ten years or more from use on a mission. NIAC’s current portfolio of
diverse and innovative ideas represents multiple technology areas,
including power, propulsion, structures and avionics.

“NIAC is a forward-looking program that captures what’s great about
America’s space program,” said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA’s
Space Technology Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
“NASA is looking for futuristic concepts that may enable leaps
forward in how we work in and explore the space frontier. Equally
important, we’re asking for ideas from all sources: American
citizen-inventors or educators working out of their garage to the
visionary small business owners fueling our nation’s economy.”

This second call for proposals follows last summer’s inaugural
selection of Phase I concepts, which are now under study. Due to the
tremendous response and large number of submissions received from
last year’s NIAC call for proposals, this year’s Phase I solicitation
will incorporate a two-step process.

NIAC will accept short proposals, limited to two pages in length,
until Feb. 9. After review, NASA will invite those whose concepts are
of interest to the agency to submit a full proposal of no more than
ten pages. Full proposals will be due April 16.

NASA expects to fund approximately 15 proposals in this year’s Phase I
process. Those selected will receive up to $100,000 for one year to
advance the innovative space technology concept and help NASA meet
current operational and future mission requirements. Selection
announcements are expected this summer. The solicitation is open to
all U.S. citizens and researchers working in the United States,
including NASA civil servants.

The number of awards will depend on the strength of proposals and
availability of appropriated funds. The number of Phase I awards also
will be balanced with NASA’s selection of Phase II awards. Phase II
awards will be selected from Phase I concepts submitted last year
that the agency decides to advance.

Past NIAC Phase I proposals have included a broad range of imaginative
and creative ideas, including: changing the course of dangerous
orbital debris; a spacesuit that uses flywheels to stabilize and
assist astronauts as they work in microgravity; the use of
3-dimensional printing to create a planetary outpost; microbial fuel
cell technology for powering tiny robot explorers; and other
innovative propulsion and power concepts needed for future space
mission operations.

NASA’s early investment and partnership with creative scientists,
engineers and citizen inventors will pay huge technological dividends
and help maintain America’s leadership in the global technology
economy.

NIAC is part of NASA’s Space Technology Program, managed by the Office
of the Chief Technologist. To view the NASA Research Announcement for
this NIAC Phase I solicitation, and for more information about NIAC
and NASA’s Space Technology Program, visit:

http://go.usa.gov/R1N

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