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NASA Funding Early-Stage Space Tech R&D Efforts

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NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate will fund 18 early-stage studies on space technologies for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, the agency said Wednesday. The selected NIAC studies cover a range of topics including low-cost small satellites, flexible telescopes, heat-withstanding materials and capabilities designed for mining ice in the Moon’s south pole.

“We are supporting high impact technology concepts that could change how we explore within the solar system and beyond,” noted Jason Derleth, program executive for the NIAC effort.

NASA will allocate around $125,000 for 12 projects under the NIAC initiative’s first increment. Researchers will conduct work for nine months and proceed to the second phase if the studies are successful. The agency will select five studies for phase two and provide up to $500,000 for participants to embark on a two-year research effort.

The third phase, introduced for the first time this year, will involve the operational transition of one NIAC study with “the highest potential impact to NASA, other government agencies or commercial companies.” NASA expects to award a maximum of $2 million for researchers to perform work for up to two years.

NASA conducted peer reviews to select proposals for phase one and two based on technical viability and innovation.

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