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Posted: Jun 04, 2014
NASA invites universities to submit innovative early-stage technology proposals
(Nanowerk News) NASA is seeking proposals from universities to advance the agency's plans for exploration to deep space and Mars. The Early Stage Innovations NASA Research Announcement calls for innovative space technology proposals that could benefit the space program, other government agencies and the greater aerospace community.
Aligned with NASA's Space Technology Roadmaps and priorities identified by the National Research Council, NASA selected topic areas that lend themselves to pioneering approaches where U.S. universities can help solve tough space technology challenges.
"The sparks to fuel the fire of innovation that will develop the new space technologies of tomorrow reside within American universities," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. "These investments benefit government space technology development and our future missions, while also boosting economic growth and competitiveness."
NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate expects to make approximately 12 awards this fall, with total award amounts of up to $500,000. Research and development efforts will take place over two to three years.
Researchers will investigate transformative space technologies in areas such as advanced thermal protection materials modeling, computational materials, in situ utilization of asteroid materials, mobile robotic surface probe concepts for planetary exploration, kinetic penetrators for icy planetary moons, and advanced technology habitat system designs for continued human exploration of space.
Only accredited U.S. universities may submit proposals under this solicitation. Notices of intent to submit proposals to the Early Stage Innovations Appendix of NASA's Research Announcement, Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2014 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2014), are due June 24. The deadline for submitting final proposals is July 21.
NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate is innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. Over the next 18 months, the directorate will make significant new investments to address several high-priority challenges for achieving safe and affordable deep space exploration.
The current topic areas support four of eight key STMD technology thrust areas: advanced life support and resource utilization, Mars entry descent and landing systems, space robotic systems, and lightweight space structures. Additionally, the technology topics solicited support the effort to send humans to Mars as well as outer planetary investment priorities.