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NASA Announces Four New Space Tech Opportunities for Industry


(Photo credit: NASA)

The nation’s sights are set on returning to and exploring the Moon, and advanced technology will lead the way. Four new technology-focused NASA solicitations give researchers and U.S. companies the opportunity to study, develop, and test capabilities for future missions. These investments in revolutionary technologies fuel tomorrow’s innovation and space economy.

Public-Private Partnerships with American Industry

NASA is looking to invest in tipping-point technologies through public-private partnerships with U.S. companies. A technology is considered at a “tipping point” if investment in a ground or flight demonstration will significantly mature the technology and improve the company’s ability to bring it to market.  

This solicitation features four new topic areas, each calling out capabilities needed for exploring the Moon and Mars. Propellant production and power systems are just two of the technologies that will help humans and robots perform long-term, sustainable operations in challenging environments.

Preliminary proposals are due by April 4, 2019. Awards will be firm-fixed-priced contracts with milestone payments. As a result of industry feedback, NASA reduced the contribution requirement for small businesses to 10 percent. The requirement remains at 25 percent for large businesses.

Flight Opportunities for Tech Payloads

NASA’s Flight Opportunities program connects researchers from industry, academia and government with suborbital spaceflight providers. By taking technologies from the lab to space, the program helps researchers validate feasibility and reduce risk for future missions.

The new Tech Flights solicitation calls for a variety of payloads, including technologies that support sustainable exploration of the Moon and expansion of economic activity into cislunar space. The program also seeks payloads that further the commercialization of suborbital space and low-Earth orbit. 

Proposals will be accepted through April 26, 2019, with a required abstract due by March 22, 2019. Awardees will receive a grant or enter into a cost-share agreement through which they can ready their technology for testing and purchase one or more suborbital flights from a U.S. commercial flight provider of their choice.

Small Business Innovation Research for Future Missions, Commercialization

Small businesses and research institutions are at the cutting edge of research, with fresh and unexpected ideas. NASA hopes to leverage their innovative concepts for use on Earth, at the Moon, and beyond.

Of the more than 100 subtopics in the current Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) solicitation, several include technology areas that will help NASA understand how to live and work on the surface of the Moon.

The Phase I solicitation is open through March 29, 2019. Phase I awards are valued at approximately $125,000 for up to six months for SBIR and 13 months for STTR to establish the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation in fulfillment of NASA needs.

Visionary Aerospace Concepts

NASA is always looking to change what’s possible in space. For the first time ever, the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program is seeking Phase III proposals for the continuation of one high-impact aerospace concept.

NIAC helps NASA look to the future by funding revolutionary space technology concepts through multiple phases of study. Historically, the NIAC program competitively selected Phase I and II proposals each year. The new Phase III is meant to mature concepts with the highest potential benefit to NASA, other government agencies, or commercial partners.

The 2019 Phase III award is worth as much as $2 million for a two-year study. NASA will accept proposals through May 17, 2019, with a notice of intent due by March 15, 2019. The solicitation is only open to current or previously awarded NIAC Phase II fellows who have successfully completed a Phase II study. NIAC Phase II final reports must be received before submitting to Phase III.

To stay up-to-date on the current opportunities within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/solicitations.

To browse all of NASA’s open solicitations, visit: https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/solicitations!open.do.

To view the original NASA press release, visit https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/solicitations/four_new_nasa_space_tech_opportunities.

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