NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts funds 30 projects

NASA has selected 30 proposals for funding under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, or NIAC, program. The advanced concepts selected for study under NIAC were chosen based on their potential to transform our future space missions, enable new capabilities or significantly alter current approaches to launching, building and operating space systems.

Each proposal will receive approximately $100,000 for one year to advance the innovative space technology concept and help NASA meet operational and future mission requirements.

Proposals include a broad range of imaginative and creative ideas, such as: changing the course of dangerous orbital debris; a spacesuit that uses flywheels to stabilize and assist astronauts as they work in microgravity; the use of 3-D printing to create a planetary outpost; and multiple innovative propulsion and power concepts needed for future space mission operations.

Cosmic log has coverage and some links to related research for some of the projects

NASA solicited visionary, long-term concepts for future technologies for maturation based on their potential value to NASA’s future space missions and operational needs. These first NIAC projects were chosen based on being technically substantiated and very early in development — 10 years or more from mission infusion.

The portfolio of diverse and innovative ideas represented multiple technology areas, including power, propulsion, structures, and avionics, as identified in NASA’s Technology Roadmaps. The roadmaps provide technology paths needed to meet NASA’s strategic goals.

The original NIAC program, known as the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, served agency needs from 1998 to 2007.

The thirty funded projects

Principal Investigator 	 Proposal Title                       Organization  

Duda, Kevin     Variable Vector Countermeasure Suit (V2Suit) The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory 	

Ferguson, Scott Enabling All-Access Mobility for Planetary Exploration Vehicles via Transformative Reconfiguration 	North Carolina State University

Gilland, James  The Potential for Ambient Plasma Wave Propulsion 	Ohio Aerospace Institute

Gregory, Daniel Space Debris Elimination (SpaDE)             Raytheon BBN Technologies

Hogue, Michael  Regolith Derived Heat Shield for a Planetary Body Entry and Descent System with In-Situ Fabrication   NASA Kennedy Space Center

Hohman, Kurt    Atmospheric Breathing Electric Thruster for Planetary Exploration  Busek Co. Inc. 

Howe, Steven    Economical Radioisotope Power   Universities Space Research Association

Khoshnevis, Behrokh  Contour Crafting Simulation Plan for Lunar Settlement Infrastructure Build-Up University of Southern California

Kwiat, Paul        Entanglement-assisted Communication System for NASA's Deep-Space Missions: Feasibility Test and Conceptual Design  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mankins, John    SPS-ALPHA: The First Practical Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array 	Artemis Innovation Management Solutions

Miller, David   High-temperature superconductors as electromagnetic deployment and support structures in spacecraft 	Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Paul, Michael 	Non-Radioisotope Power Systems For Sunless Solar System Exploration Missions 	Pennsylvania State University

Pavone, Marco 	Spacecraft/Rover Hybrids for the Exploration of Small Solar System Bodies 	NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Ritter, Joe     Ultra-Light “Photonic Muscle” Space Structures 	University of Hawaii 

Scott, Gregory  Low Power Microrobotics Utilizing Biologically Inspired Energy Generation   Naval Research Laboratory

Short, Kendra   Printable Spacecraft             NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Sibille, Laurent 	In-Space Propulsion Engine Architecture based on Sublimation of Planetary Resources: from exploration robots to NEO mitigation 	NASA Kennedy Space Center

Silvera, Isaac 	Metallic Hydrogen: A Game Changing Rocket Propellant 	Harvard University

Slough, John 	Nuclear Propulsion through Direct Conversion of Fusion Energy 	MSNW LLC

Staehle, Robert 	Interplanetary CubeSats: Opening the Solar System to a Broad Community at Lower Cost 	NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Strekalov, Dmitry 	Ghost Imaging of Space Objects 	NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Stysley, Paul 	Laser-Based Optical Trap for Remote Sampling of Interplanetary and Atmospheric Particulate Matter 	NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Swartzlander, Grover 	Steering of Solar Sails Using Optical Lift Force 	Rochester Institute of Technology

Tarditi, Alfonso 	Aneutronic Fusion Spacecraft Architecture 	University of Houston at Clear Lake

Thibeault, Sheila 	Radiation Shielding Materials Containing Hydrogen, Boron, and Nitrogen: Systematic Computational and Experimental Study 	NASA Langley Research Center

Tripathi, Ram 	Meeting the Grand Challenge of Protecting Astronaut's Health: Electrostatic Active Space Radiation Shielding for Deep Space Missions 	NASA Langley Research Center

Werka, Robert 	Proposal for a Concept Assessment of a Fission Fragment Rocket Engine (FFRE) Propelled Spacecraft 	NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Westover, Shayne 	Radiation Protection and Architecture Utilizing High Temperature Superconducting Magnets 	NASA Johnson Space Center

Whittaker, William 	Technologies Enabling Exploration of Skylights, Lava Tubes and Caves 	Astrobotic Technology Inc.

Wie, Bong 	Optimal Dispersion of Near-Earth Objects 	Iowa State University

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