Status Report

CASIS and National Science Foundation Announce Sixth Annual Solicitation in Transport Phenomena and Fluid Transport to Utilize the International Space

By SpaceRef Editor
November 30, 2020
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The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced a “Transport Phenomena” joint solicitation open to investigators interested in leveraging resources onboard the orbiting laboratory for research in the areas of fluid dynamics, particulate and multiphase processes, thermal transport, nanoscale interactions, and combustion and fire systems. Up to $400,000 will be awarded for multiple research projects that will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory (NSF will award up to $3.6 million in total grant funding). CASIS is the organization responsible for managing the ISS National Lab through a Cooperative Agreement with NASA. This marks the 6th consecutive year in which CASIS and NSF have collaborated on a solicitation to send fundamental physical science investigations to the orbiting laboratory under the sponsorship of the ISS National Lab. New to this year’s solicitation, NASA’s flow boiling and flow condensation modules for the Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment facility, as well as their ground units, are being made available for support of proposed research.

Many processes that affect the behavior of fluids on Earth, such as convection, sedimentation, hydrostatic pressure, and buoyancy, are absent in microgravity. The persistent microgravity environment on the orbiting laboratory provides several benefits for the study of fluid dynamics, multiphase processes, thermal transport, nanoscale interactions, and combustion and fire systems. NSF and CASIS seek proposals that will leverage these program areas to further science goals that may benefit life on Earth. Responsive proposals will describe how the proposed research will utilize the ISS National Lab and its unique environment to develop novel ideas in either fundamental or translational research projects that further the aforementioned physical science disciplines. 

Through this partnership, CASIS will facilitate hardware implementation and in-orbit access to the ISS National Lab, and NSF will fund the selected projects to advance fundamental science and engineering knowledge. NSF supports transformative research to help drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security, and maintain America’s position as a global leader in innovation. Fundamental science and government agency sponsored research is an important line of business for the ISS National Lab, and knowledge gained from such research could have profound impacts on future inquiries that bring value to our nation and drive a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit.

Prior to submitting a full proposal to NSF for this solicitation, all interested parties must submit a Feasibility Review Form to CASIS for an evaluation of the operational feasibility of the proposed work to be conducted on the orbiting laboratory. The deadline to submit a Feasibility Review Form is January 11, 2021. Only projects that pass the CASIS Feasibility Review will be invited to submit a full proposal to NSF. The notification of a passing score must be included in the full proposal submission. NSF will close this grant solicitation on March 2, 2021.

For more information on the Feasibility Review, visit the CASIS solicitation webpage.

To learn more about this funding opportunity, view the solicitation via the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) in the NSF Directorate for Engineering.


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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to optimize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ISS National Lab manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is the nonprofit responsible for management of the ISS National Lab.

About the U.S. National Science Foundation: The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

Media Contacts: 

CASIS/ISS National Lab:
Patrick O’Neill

Media Affairs

SpaceRef staff editor.