To set your sights on visionary changes that could transform space exploration, look no further than NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC). In early August, NASA’s NIAC announced 18 new NIAC Phase I awards, and 10 new Phase II awards based on earlier Phase I studies. The objective is to help transform the space agency’s future space missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter current approaches to launching, building, and operating space systems.

An interplanetary Cubesat design was one of the proposals chosen in the first round. (NIAC Fellow Robert Staehle, NASA/JPL)
“We’re interested in promise,” said Jay Falker, NIAC program executive in the Office of the Chief Technologist, “and NIAC is pushing the edge closer to science fiction, as long as the proposal is credible. We wanted creativity. We wanted things out of the norm. We want to change what is possible in space. I keep emphasizing that, if we get a single breakthrough out of NIAC, it will all be worth it.”

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

For a complete list of the selected proposals and more information about NIAC, visit www.nasa.gov/niac.

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