August 9, 2011

NASA Selects Advanced Technology Concepts For Study

NASA on Monday announced funding for 30 new space projects under the agency's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.

The advanced concepts selected were chosen based on potential to transform the future of space missions, enable new capabilities or significantly alter the current approaches to launching, building and operating space systems.

Each of the proposals will get $100,000 in funding for a one-year period, NASA said in a statement.

"These innovative concepts have the potential to mature into the transformative capabilities NASA needs to improve our current space mission operations, seeding the technology breakthroughs needed for the challenging space missions in NASA's future," said NASA chief technologist Bobby Braun.

The proposals include a broad range of creative ideas, including changing the course of dangerous orbital debris; a spacesuit that uses flywheels to stabilize and assist astronauts in space; 3D printing to create a planetary outpost; and multiple concepts for improved propulsion and power for future missions.

NIAC, originally known as the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, ran from 1998 to 2007 as an independent forum "to complement the advanced concepts activities conducted within NASA," the agency said.

The program was halted for review in 2008 by Congress. Following an October 2009 hearing by the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, NASA re-established the NIAC program for fiscal year 2011. 


On the Net:

  • For a complete list of the selected proposals, and more information about the program, visit: