Tech

May 22, 2013

NASA calls for phase II visionary advanced concepts

NASA is looking for far-out ideas. NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is seeking Phase II proposals for continuation of promising studies selected during the first phase of the visionary program.

The NIAC program funds cutting-edge concepts with the potential to transform future aerospace missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter current approaches to launching, building, and operating aerospace systems.

“Creating the technologies needed to keep our explorers – robotic and human – alive and well is a terrific challenge, and these transformative concepts have the potential to mature into the solutions that enable our future missions,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology in Washington. “NASA’s early investment and partnership with creative scientists, engineers and citizen inventors from across the nation holds the potential to pay huge technological dividends and help maintain America’s leadership in the global technology economy.”

NIAC’s Phase II opportunity continues development of the most promising Phase I concepts. These are visionary aerospace architecture, mission, or system concepts with transformative potential, which continue to push into new frontiers, while remaining technically and programmatically credible. NIAC’s current portfolio of diverse efforts advances aerospace technology in many areas, including science, aeronautics, robotics and manufacturing.

Recent NIAC Phase II studies have included a concept for “printable spacecraft,” which could be manufactured using additive manufacturing technology that creates 3-D objects from computer designs. Spacecraft electronic components could be “printed” layer upon layer on flexible materials, advancing the functionality and availability of components needed for space missions. Another study is examining the feasibility of using high temperature superconducting magnets as a potential form of radiation shielding in space.

“Phase II proposals are especially exciting because they can provide the opportunity to bring real breakthroughs one step closer to implementation,” said Jay Falker, NIAC program executive at NASA Headquarters.

NASA will be accepting NIAC Phase II proposals of no more than 20 pages in length until July 9. Selection announcements are expected later this year. This solicitation is open only to current or previously awarded NIAC Phase I concepts. Complete guidelines for proposal submissions are available on the NIAC website at http://www.nasa.gov/niac.

NASA expects to initiate approximately five new Phase II studies this year. The number of awards will depend on the strength of proposals, availability of appropriated funds and selected mix of Phase I and Phase II awards. Selected proposers will receive as much as $500,000 over two years to further analyze and develop their innovative concepts.

NIAC is part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions. To view the NASA NIAC Research Announcement for this solicitation and for more information about the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit: http://go.usa.gov/R1N.

 




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