January 29, 2013
NASA Seeks Ideas For Repurposing The International Space Station
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
NASA is opening up the floor for suggestions, asking for proposals about how the International Space Station (ISS) can be used as a technological test tube.
"The space station is a world-class facility and critical to NASA's plan to extend humanity's presence beyond low-Earth orbit," Andrew Clem of the Technology Demonstration Office in the International Space Station Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston said in a statement. "This is an opportunity for researchers, inventors and designers to demonstrate a technology needed for future human spaceflights or to improve an existing space station capability."
NASA said it will be reviewing submissions throughout the year as they are received, and will cover launch and integration costs for selected proposals.
Proposed technologies could help advance exploration and research capabilities aboard the space station. NASA said concepts must fit within its standards for mass and volume to meet requirements for current launch vehicles.
"Suggested areas include in-space propulsion; space power and energy storage; components of highly reliable, closed-loop, human health, life support and habitation systems; thermal systems; robotics, telerobotics, and autonomous systems; and human exploration destination systems," the space agency wrote.
According to NASA, the proposals for new exploration technologies could include strategies to reduce mass, maintenance and power requirements for the space station, or to help improve existing space hardware. Acceptable proposals may also have the potential to produce benefits for humanity, such as testing valuable new materials or stimulating economic growth.
"Alternately, proposers could address improvements to the existing capabilities of the U.S. National Laboratory, such as new uses for existing experiment tools and infrastructure aboard the orbiting outpost, or potential efficiencies like advances in data communications," NASA wrote.
The space agency said that other possibilities could include ground equipment for space studies, in-orbit analytical tools, 3D cell and tissue culture hardware, or improvements for new uses for existing station resources.
"The enhancements sought in this announcement will further efforts by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space to promote research aboard the station's U.S. National Laboratory," NASA said.