NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF AEROSPACE

NIA News Release 2016-06: NASA iTech Fosters Technology Needed for Journey to Mars

NIA News Release 2016-06: NASA iTech Fosters Technology Needed for Journey to Mars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      September 21, 2016

Timothy Allen
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.
615-955-2859
timothy.allen@nianet.org

NIA Release: 2016-06

NASA iTech Fosters Technology Needed for Journey to Mars

NASA is seeking innovative technology for the agency’s future exploration missions in the solar system and beyond, including the Journey to Mars, from other U.S. government agencies, academia, the aerospace industry and the public through the new iTech initiative.

NASA’s iTech initiative is a yearlong effort to find innovative ideas through a call for white papers that address challenges that will fill gaps in five critical areas identified by NASA as having a potential impact on future exploration. The technology areas are: radiation protection; life support systems in space; astronaut crew health; in-space propulsion; and the ability to achieve very high-resolution measurements of key greenhouse gases.

“NASA has programs to address the agency’s current exploration goals, but we want to also include non-traditional innovators we haven’t heard from before,” said Kira Blackwell, Innovation program executive within NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist in Washington. “NASA’s iTech is a collaborative effort with other agencies, universities, industry and the public to help us reach mutually beneficial technology goals.”

The iTech initiative is open to U.S. citizens, universities, organizations and businesses. The call for papers opens Sept. 21 and closes Oct. 17. A panel of subject matter experts will review the papers and down-select the top 10 finalists based on their relevance and potential impact in the technology topic areas.

The top 10 finalists will be invited to present their solutions at the NASA iTech Forum at NASA Headquarters in Washington from Dec. 5-8. As part of the forum, top innovators will have the opportunity to discuss their work with industry participants and explore new technology development partnerships.

NASA iTech is an initiative by the Office of the Chief Technologist and managed by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) in Hampton, Virginia. NIA will assist the first cycle of NASA iTech selectees by providing six months of mentoring with the goal of developing a customized implementation plan to further move the innovation toward real-world use.

 

For information about the NASA iTech initiative, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/overview

For information about NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oct

For more information about the National Institute of Aerospace, visit:

www.NIAnet.org

NIA News Release 2016-05: NASA Searches for Big Idea from Students for In-Space Assembly of Spacecraft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         September 7, 2016

Bianca Clark
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.
757-325-6721
bianca.clark@nianet.org

NIA Release: 2016-05

NASA Searches for Big Idea from Students for In-Space Assembly of Spacecraft

big-idea-logo-final_web

In the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, NASA is engaging university-level students in its quest to reduce the cost of deep space exploration.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program (GCD), managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) are seeking novel and robust concepts for in-space assembly of spacecraft — particularly tugs, propelled by solar electric propulsion (SEP), that transfer payloads from low earth orbit (LEO) to a lunar distant retrograde orbit (LDRO).

“GCD initiated the BIG Idea Challenge in 2016 as a unique approach to finding top talent for NASA, and it proved to be more successful than we had hoped,” said Mary E. Wusk, acting GCD program manager at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

“In last year’s challenge, students from across the nation proposed innovative solutions to the technology challenge of controlling a heat shield upon reentry, Wusk said. “The 2016 BIG Idea
Challenge finalists are now interning at NASA Langley where they are building prototypes of their designs under the mentorship of experts in the field. These students bring new ideas, new perspectives, new tools
and unlimited energy to solving real world challenges that NASA is working on. It is a win-win for NASA and the students. I am excited to kick off our second Challenge which will address our ability to make in-space assembly a reality.”

Why is this important? Think: ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’ Combined with advances in robotic technology, SEP tugs (i.e., transportation systems) enable NASA to move toward the use of more modular space systems that can be assembled into functional space craft hundreds of thousands of miles from Earth. The modular design also allows for upgrades, replacement of components, and reconfigurations for new mission application.

The 2017 BIG Idea Challenge invites teams and their faculty advisors to work together to design and analyze potential modular concepts and systems that provide the ability to constru
ct large SEP tugs in space. Concepts can employ:

  • New approaches for packaging modules in one or more launch vehicles that minimize launch loads
  • Modular solar arrays and ion engines
  • Robust robotic assembly of the modules that form the SEP tug.

Interested teams of three to five undergraduate and/or graduate students are asked to submit robust proposals describing their concepts by Nov. 30.

From these proposals, a panel of NASA experts will select four teams to move to the next phase of the competition. Teams will then have to submit full technical papers on their concepts and present their concepts in face-to-face oral presentations/design reviews at the BIG Idea Forum at NASA Langley in mid-February 2017.

Each finalist team will receive a $6,000 stipend to facilitate full participation in the forum. BIG Idea Challenge winners will receive offers of paid internships with the GCD team at NAS
A Langley, where they can further develop their concept.

For more information about the challenge, and details on how to apply, visit the BIG Idea website at:

http://bigidea.nianet.org

For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, go to:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

 

-end-

Joe Atkinson
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
757-864-5644
joseph.s.atkinson@nasa.gov

Shelley Spears
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.
757-325-6732
shelley.spears@nianet.org

BUSINESS WITH NIA

Headquarters

100 Exploration Way
Hampton, VA 23666
(757)325-6700
www.nianet.org