NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is soliciting low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) research in support of the Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) Early Stage Innovation Division. In the spirit of the original NIAC, this call invites innovative, technically credible advanced concepts that could one day change the possible in aeronautics and space.
NIAC will be focused on early studies of visionary aerospace concepts. These may be
architecture, mission, or system concepts, roughly TRL 1-3 in maturity, aiming 10 or
more years in the future.
Proposers also should be aware of two related planned OCT research opportunities:
• Early Stage Innovation – Space Technology Research Opportunities (ESI-STRO)
will be an opportunity for academia, nonprofit research laboratories, NASA
Centers (and other kinds of organizations if partnered with the former). The focus
will be to develop advanced and innovative space technologies2 in the TRL 1-3
range that could enhance multiple current missions or enable entirely new
• Game Changing Developments will demonstrate capabilities that radically
change how missions are carried out, or even conceived. This will involve short
concept studies to define scope, and then competitively procured projects to
rapidly demonstrate selected capabilities. These projects will typically mature
technologies from TRL 3-4, and sometimes as high as 5 or 6.
• TRL 1 (basic principles observed and reported),
• TRL 2 (technology concept and/or application formulated), or
• early TRL 3 (analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic
proof of concept)
Typical NIAC Phase I awards will be up to $100K, for a typical duration up to one year. Smaller or larger award amounts may be proposed, and all amounts must be justified. Larger amounts will be rare, and must demonstrate compelling additional value to NASA.
It is expected that continuation to Phase II study will be possible for a few of the most promising NIAC concepts. There will be a separate solicitation for Phase II awards, which will fund efforts typically for up to two years (after Phase I). Only proposals based on successful NIAC Phase I studies will be considered for Phase II.
NASA’s Game Changing Development Program is soliciting proposals for research and technology development for revolutionary improvements in America’s space capabilities. NASA also is seeking Technology Demonstration Mission proposals in four areas: high-bandwidth deep space communication, navigation and timing; orbital debris mitigation or removal systems; advanced in-space propulsion systems; and autonomous rendezvous, docking, close proximity operations and formation flying.