Recently in the NASA Chief Technologist Office Category


NASA has selected 14 proposals from small business and research institution teams to continue development of innovative technologies that are needed for future NASA missions and could become viable commercial products and services. The Phase II selectees in NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program may enter negotiations for possible contract awards, worth a combined total of approximately $9.8 million. High-tech firms in seven states submitted proposals in partnership with research institutions in nine states.

"NASA has selected 295 research and technology proposals from 216 American small businesses for negotiations that may lead to contract awards worth a combined $38.7 million. The proposals are part of NASA's Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. SBIR addresses specific technology gaps in agency missions while striving to complement other agency research investments. Numerous NASA efforts, including modern air traffic control systems, Earth-observing spacecraft, human spaceflight and the International Space Station, and NASA's Mars rovers have benefited from the program. The STTR program additionally facilitates the transfer of technology developed by a research institution through the entrepreneurship of a small business." More

"National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters is releasing a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) for initial studies of visionary aerospace concepts. NNH13ZUA001N, entitled NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts: Phase I Studies, will be available as of January 15, 2013. This solicitation represents continuation of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, which issued its first solicitation on March 1, 2011. This NRA will solicit multiple studies, each of which will investigate an architecture, mission, or system concept with the potential to enable a great leap in space or aeronautics. NIAC is part of the Space Technology Program in the Office of Chief Technologist. Aerospace architecture, mission, or system concepts proposed for NIAC Phase I studies must be exciting, unexplored, far-term, and credible. Proposals for narrow technology or subsystem development, or incremental or near-term advancement, are explicitly out of scope for this program. Finally, while NIAC encourages daring vision and accepts the accompanying risk, proposals must be technically credible and plausibly implementable." More

"NASA Dryden Flight Research Center has released a solicitation entitled "NASA Announcement of Flight Opportunities (AFO) for Payloads Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Missions to Flight Readiness Status. The current solicitation cycle, AFO #6, provides access to flights on parabolic flights, suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (sRLV), and high-altitude balloons. Applications are due on or before 11:59 PM Eastern Time December 21, 2012, and selections will be announced in February 2013 (target)." More

NASA TechPort

"During this initial phase of TechPort's rollout, NASA users will only be able to access the website through the nasa.gov domain, and not from iPads or computers off the NASA network. The Office of the Chief Technologist will seek employee feedback on the website, and plans to make TechPort publicly available in the future. Users will be able to browse, search, track, analyze and report on the portfolio of technology investments being pursued at program and project levels, with the resulting benefits being the easy access to information about programs and project results.

Technology project data in TechPort was collected through an agency-wide data call for technology project information. This call was conducted earlier this year as part of the development of the Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan. Program and project personnel entered technology project data into TechPort, which was validated by NASA mission directorate/office representatives. Moving forward, TechPort will provide a venue for data owners to easily update technology project information, as well as the tools to conduct analysis and reporting on that data." More

"NASA is seeking applications from graduate students for the agency's Space Technology Research Fellowships. Applications will be accepted from students pursuing or planning to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in relevant space technology disciplines at accredited U.S. universities. The fellowship awards, worth as much as $68,000 per year, will coincide with the start of the fall 2013 term. The fellowships will sponsor U.S. graduate student researchers who show significant potential to contribute to NASA's strategic space technology objectives through their studies. To date, NASA has awarded these prestigious fellowships to 128 students from 50 universities and across 26 states and one U.S. territory." More

NASA's Smartphone Nanosatellite

"NASA's PhoneSat project will demonstrate the ability to launch the lowest-cost and easiest to build satellites ever flown in space - capabilities enabled by using off-the-shelf consumer smartphones to build spacecraft. A small team of engineers working on NASA's PhoneSat at the agency's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., aim to rapidly evolve satellite architecture and incorporate the Silicon Valley approach of "release early, release often" to small spacecraft. To achieve this, NASA's PhoneSat design makes extensive use of commercial-off-the-shelf components, including an unmodified, consumer-grade smartphone. Out of the box smartphones already offer a wealth of capabilities needed for satellite systems, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers, and several radios." More.

"NASA's Space Technology Program has selected five technologies that could revolutionize America's space capabilities. In March, NASA issued a call for proposal focused on sudden and unexpected innovations that hold a potential for providing a "game-changing" impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency's space capabilities. "NASA's Space Technology Program is enabling our future in space by investing in revolutionary and game-changing technologies that could open new doors for how we live, work and investigate space," said Michael Gazarik, director of the program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We are confident these selected technologies, with their highly qualified research teams, will enable great new opportunities for the next chapter in NASA's innovation story."

"NASA has selected a team led by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation of Boulder, Colo., for a technology demonstration of a high performance "green" propellant alternative to the highly toxic fuel hydrazine. With this award, NASA opens a new era of innovative and non-toxic green fuels that are less harmful to our environment, have fewer operational hazards, and decrease the complexity and cost of launch processing. Today's use of hydrazine fuel for rockets, satellites and spacecraft is pervasive. Hydrazine is an efficient propellant and can be stored for long periods of time, but it also is highly corrosive and toxic. NASA is seeking new, non-toxic high performance green propellants that could be safely and widely used by rocketeers, ranging from government to industry and academia. Green propellants include liquid, solid, mono- propellant, which use one fuel source, or bi-propellants, which use two, and hybrids that offer safer handling conditions and lower environmental impact than current fuels." More.

"NASA has announced the selection of 10 research efforts from the agency's inaugural Space Technology Research Opportunities for Early Career Faculty solicitation. NASA will provide grants of as much as $200,000 per year for as long as three years in support of these faculty and their research in specific, high-priority technology areas. The selected faculty will conduct research in areas closely aligned with NASA's Space Technology Roadmaps and priorities identified by the National Research Council. These priorities include extending and sustaining human activities beyond low Earth orbit, exploring the evolution of the solar system and potential for life elsewhere, and expanding our understanding of Earth and the universe." More

"Centennial Challenges is a program of prize competitions to stimulate innovation in technologies of interest and value to NASA and the nation. In 2010 NASA announced a Nano-Satellite Launch (NSL) Challenge to encourage development of safe, low-cost, small-payload delivery systems for frequent access to low Earth orbit (LEO) through innovations in propulsion and other technologies as well as operations and management for broader applications in future launch systems that could result in a commercial capability for dedicated launches of small satellites at a cost comparable to secondary payload launches--a potential new market with Government, commercial, and academic customers. To assist in formulation of the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge, NASA is seeking additional information on the nano-satellite market and on approaches to address the market needs. There are currently several existing launch vehicles and new launch vehicle programs that could provide ride-sharing opportunities for nano-satellite. A NASA NSL Challenge could focus on a vehicle dedicated to providing greater payload design flexibility for cubesats and other small payloads, more frequent access to space at costs comparable or less than existing or proposed ride-share launch options." More

Announcement of Flight Opportunities #5

Flight Opportunities for Payloads Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Missions to Flight Readiness Status

"Dear Flight Opportunities community: We are pleased to announce the release of Announcement of Flight Opportunities #5 (AFO5) today. This new call brings back the opportunity to propose to the parabolic flight platform, in addition to our current sRLV and balloon providers. Proposal due date is September 21, with a tentative announcement of selections in November 2012."

"NASA has chosen three teams to advance the state of the art for small spacecraft in the areas of communications, formation flying and docking systems. The cutting-edge space technology flights are expected to take place in 2014 and 2015. All selected missions will employ nanosatellites conforming to the CubeSat standard. CubeSats are composed of four-inch, cube-shaped units with each having a volume of about one quart and a weight of approximately three pounds. CubeSats can be joined to create multiple-unit spacecraft. They readily can be accommodated as secondary payloads or rideshares on a number of space launch vehicles." More

"A heat shield partially made from Martian or lunar soil, lighting that lets plants grow in space and specialized containers that keep astronauts from getting infected by biological experiments were some of the ideas shown to NASA's chief technologist during his two-day visit to laboratories at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although known for pioneering tools and techniques to prepare payloads and launch spacecraft successfully, the space center and its partner Space Florida also operate labs for scientists performing cutting edge research in other fields. "It's very exciting to be here at Kennedy Space Center because one of the best parts of my job is thinking about the future," said Mason Peck, NASA's chief technologist. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to do this in the first place." More

NASA Solicitation: Space Technology Research Opportunities: Erly Stage Innovations

"NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) solicits proposals from accredited U.S. universities for innovative, early-stage space technology research of high priority to NASA's Mission Directorates and OCT. Eligibility requirements are detailed in the solicitation. ESI-STRO is focused on low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) space technologies. The goal of this low-TRL technology endeavor is to accelerate the development of push technologies (technology development not directed at a specific mission) to support the future space science and exploration needs of NASA, other government agencies, and the commercial space sector. These Early Stage Innovation technology efforts complement the NASA Mission Directorates' focused technology activities which typically begin at TRL 3 or higher. The TRL of the efforts to be funded as a result of this call will be TRL 1 or TRL 2 at the beginning of the selected effort and TRL 2 or TRL 3 at the end of the effort."

Release of OCT Space Technology Research Opportunities Early Stage Innovations NRA

"NASA is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities focused on innovative, early-stage space technologies that will improve shielding from space radiation, spacecraft thermal management and optical systems. Each of these technology areas requires dramatic improvements over existing capabilities for future science and human exploration missions. Early stage, or low technology readiness level (TRL) concepts, could mature into tools that solve the hard challenges facing future NASA missions. Researchers should propose unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies that address the specific topics described in this new solicitation."

NASA Seeks Early Stage Innovations For Space Technologies From U.S. Universities

"NASA is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities focused on innovative, early-stage space technologies that will improve shielding from space radiation, spacecraft thermal management and optical systems. Each of these technology areas requires dramatic improvements over existing capabilities for future science and human exploration missions. Early stage, or low technology readiness level (TRL) concepts, could mature into tools that solve the hard challenges facing future NASA missions. Researchers should propose unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies that address the specific topics described in this new solicitation."

NASA Announces 2012 Space Technology Research Fellowship Grants

"NASA has selected the 2012 class of Space Technology Research Fellows. Forty-eight students will receive graduate student fellowships from NASA's Space Technology Program to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in relevant space technology disciplines at their respective institutions. Through the Space Technology Research Fellowships Program, NASA is providing the nation with a pipeline of highly skilled engineers and technologists to improve U.S. competitiveness while developing the intellectual and technological foundation needed for future science and exploration missions. The program is part of a renewed emphasis on technology at NASA, which is designed to inspire the nation and contribute to an innovation-driven economy."

NASA Office of the Chief Technologist; NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts: Phase II NRA 2012

"This NRA solicits multiple studies, each of which will further investigate an architecture, mission, or system concept that has the potential to change the possible in aeronautics or space. NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is part of the Office of Chief Technologist (OCT). Aerospace architecture, mission, or system concepts proposed for NIAC Phase II studies must be exciting, unexplored, far-term, and technically credible. Narrow technology or subsystem development, and incremental improvement are explicitly out of scope for this program. Finally, while NIAC encourages great leaps and accepts the accompanying risk, proposals must be technically credible, based on sound scientific principles."

NASA CTO Peck Visits Pasadena's Honeybee Robotics Wednesday

"NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck will visit Honeybee Robotics in Pasadena, Calif., on Wednesday, March 14. Peck's visit will highlight how government can partner with small business to help create the jobs of the future through investment in science and technology. Honeybee Robotics has been a technology supplier to the last three Mars missions. It has received multiple NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to develop mechanisms that could be used on future NASA missions, many of which also have potential in the commercial marketplace. These include excavation and drilling tools for potential use in harsh environments on Earth and other planets."

NASA Solicitation: Space Technology Research Opportunities for Early Career Faculty

"NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) and the Space Technology Research Grants Program, in particular, seek proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of faculty members beginning their independent careers. This solicitation is focused on supporting outstanding faculty researchers early in their careers as they conduct space technology research of high priority to NASA's Mission Directorates and OCT. NASA is seeking proposals that plan to pursue innovative, early-stage space technology research in the topic areas specifically enumerated in the solicitation."

NASA Seeks Suborbital Payloads

NASA Seeks Game Changing Technology Payloads for Suborbital Research Flights

"NASA is seeking proposals for small technology payloads that could fly on future NASA-sponsored suborbital flights. These future flights will travel to the edge of space and back, testing the innovative new technologies before they're sent to work in the harsh environment of space."

NRC Report on NASA Technology

Report Identifies 16 Highest Priorities to Guide NASA's Technology Development Efforts for Next Five Years

"It has been years since NASA has had a vigorous, broad-based program in advanced space technology development," said Raymond Colladay, president of RC Space Enterprises Inc., and chair of the committee that wrote the report. "Success in executing future NASA space missions will depend on advanced developments that should already be under way."

NASA Receives Final NRC Report On Space Technology Roadmaps

"The report strongly reaffirms the vital importance of technology development to enable the agency's future missions and grow the nation's new technology economy," said Mason Peck, chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The report confirms the value of our technology development strategy to date. NASA currently invests in all of the highest-priority technologies and will study the report and adjust its investment portfolio as needed."

NIAC Wants Your Ideas

NASA Issues Call for Visionary Advanced Technology Concepts

"NASA's Space Technology Program is looking for far-out ideas. The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, or NIAC, program is seeking proposals for revolutionary concepts with the potential to transform future aerospace missions. Proposed concepts should enable new capabilities or significantly alter current approaches to launching, building and operating space systems. NIAC projects are chosen for their innovative and visionary characteristics, technical substance, and early development stage -- ten years or more from use on a mission. NIAC's current portfolio of diverse and innovative ideas represents multiple technology areas, including power, propulsion, structures and avionics."

NASA Solicitation: Edison Small Satellite Flight Demonstration Missions

"NASA, through this BAA, plans to seek proposals for low-cost, flight demonstrations for small satellite technology. This procurement will accelerate the development of small spacecraft capabilities for NASA, commercial, and other space sector users. Successful proposals will provide a compelling infusion strategy that ensures that the proposed technology will find active utility after the completion of the flight demonstration mission. The small spacecraft demonstration missions under the Edison Program are intended to flight- validate one or more small spacecraft subsystem technologies or mission capabilities with game-changing and/or crosscutting potential, specifically maturation from NASA Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 5 or 6 to TRL 7."

Game Changing Technology Opportunity

NASA Announcement: Game Changing Opportunities in Technology Development

This publication announces the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Office of Chief Technologist's Game Changing Development (GCD) Program's plans to release the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 NASA Research Announcement (NRA) NNL12A3001N entitled, "Game Changing Opportunities in Technology Development". Detailed requirements, including proposal due dates, will be stated in Appendices that address individual topic areas. Appendices will be posted as Amendments to the GCD NRA and will be published as requirements materialize throughout the year. The FY 2012 GCD NRA (NNL12A3001N) can be accessed from the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) website, (http://nspires.nasaprs.com ), by going first to "Solicitations", and then to "Open Solicitations". Once Amendments are available interested parties can access Open Solicitations, click on NRA "NNL12A3001N", and then click on "Amendments"

NASA Selects 300 Small Business Research and Technology Projects

"NASA's partnerships with small businesses and universities through these programs brings space technologies to the marketplace, helping start-ups and small businesses create new jobs and grow our economy while meeting NASA's current and future mission needs," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology. "Breakthroughs in technology for space exploration create the foundation for new industries. We're excited to work with these new partners and look forward to seeing their technologies mature into commercially viable products."

NASA Solicitation: Payloads Requiring a Near-zero or Reduced Gravity Environment

"NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) seeks to mature towards flight readiness status crosscutting technologies that perform relevant environment testing and advance multiple future space missions. To facilitate this goal, NASA is providing access to certain flight opportunities available to the Agency, on a no-exchange-of funds basis, to entities that have technology payloads meeting specified criteria. They may be exposed to a near-zero or reduced gravity environment on high-altitude balloons, flying on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs) that are potentially capable of flying to altitudes above 100 km."

Chipsat pioneer named NASA's chief technologist, Nature

"Mason Peck 's interest in chipsats, and an experiment called Sprite, might be even more radical. These satellites pack all the communication and navigation capabilities they need onto a chip the size of a dime; for fuel, they can simply ride on the wave of the solar wind, like a miniature solar sail. Right now, Peck has a few Sprites being tested on the space station, but he foresees all sorts of future uses: clusters of chipsats, stationed at the Earth-Sun Lagrangian point, for monitoring dangerous outbursts of Solar wind; a benign chipsat cloud surrounding larger spacecraft to serve as inspectors and sentries; or an armada of chipsats, sent plunging into the atmosphere of an outer planet, in order to return basic physics and chemistry data."

NASA Names Cornell Professor To CTO Position, Information Week

"At Cornell, Peck is the principal investigator on the CUSat in-orbit inspection technology demonstration, a pair of satellites the university has built that are scheduled to launch in 2013 on a Falcon 9 rocket through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's University Nanosatellite program."

CUSat

Game-Changing Space Technology Projects

NASA Announces Two Game-Changing Space Technology Projects

"NASA's Game Changing Technology Development program uses a rolling selection process to mature new, potentially transformative technologies from low to moderate technology readiness levels -- from the edge of reality to a test article ready for the rigors of the lab," said Space Technology Director Michael Gazarik at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "These two new projects are just the beginning. Space Technology is making investments in critical technology areas that will enable NASA's future missions, while benefiting the American aerospace community."

NASA will hold a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, Aug. 22, to announce proposals selected in the agency's Technology Demonstration Mission program. These crosscutting technology demonstrations were selected because of their potential to infuse high-impact capabilities into NASA's future space operations missions. Flight demonstrations will advance the technology readiness of these systems, providing tangible products and capabilities ready for infusion into NASA missions. Technology Demonstration Missions are a vital element in the technology readiness pipeline, allowing NASA to advance innovations from concept to flight across the agency's 10 space technology programs.