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NASA Asks for University Help for Innovation Tech Proposals

April 4, 2013

By Cynthia Herbert :: 8:28 AM

NASA looking for higher-ed help.NASA is seeking innovative, early-stage space technology proposals from U.S. colleges and universities that will enable the space agency to carry out future missions and maintain America’s leadership in space.

The agency is seeking proposals for science instruments, cryogenic propellant storage for long-duration space exploration, optical coatings for astrophysical pursuits, oxygen recovery for life support systems, and ideas to improve understanding of and protection from near-Earth asteroids.

These space technology areas require dramatic improvements over existing capabilities and technologies. New early stage, or low technology readiness-level, technologies that could mature into tools that solve the challenges facing NASA’s future scientific and human spaceflight missions are key. NASA hopes that researchers will propose unique, transformational space technologies that address specific topics found in this solicitation.

“Space technology is the underpinning of all of NASA’s future missions,” explained Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate. “NASA’s collaboration with the National Research Council and the agency’s recent Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan have helped us identify areas where new, cross-cutting space technologies are needed to enable our future missions. Now we’re reaching out to American universities to tap into the nation’s best and brightest minds to help solve these tough technology problems.”

NASA hopes to make roughly 10 awards this fall, based on the merit of the proposals it receives. Each award will be made for one year, with an optional year of research possible. Typical annual award values are expected to be approximately $250,000. Second-year funding will be contingent on the availability of appropriated funds and technical progress by awardees. Only accredited U.S. universities may advance proposals to this solicitation. The deadline to submit notices of intent are due by April 29th, and proposals are due May 21.