NASA Seeks Innovative Early Stage Technology Proposals From Universities

This battery case, created with a material called Polyetherketoneketone, is a 3-D-printed component developed under a university-industry partnership. Image Credit: NASA

May 17, 2017 – NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from universities for early stage technology development that will support the agency’s long-term plans for human exploration of Mars and scientific study of our solar system and beyond. The grants will sponsor research in specific high-priority areas of interest to America’s space program.

The Early Stage Innovations NASA Research Announcement calls for innovative space technology proposals that could benefit NASA’s space program, other government agencies and the greater aerospace community.

“I’m excited to see what kinds of technology solutions this announcement will bring to the table,” said Jim Reuter, deputy associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters. “This is a great research opportunity for universities that want to participate in NASA’s human and robotic space exploration missions.”

Aligned with NASA’s Space Technology Roadmaps and priorities identified by the National Research Council, the agency has identified topic areas ripe for early stage innovative approaches U.S. universities can offer for solving tough space technology challenges.

The proposals should cover space technology solutions in different fields, including:

  • Advanced Coating Technology for Space Fission Power and Propulsion Systems

  • Relative Navigation Algorithms and Sensors for Autonomous Maneuvering in Proximity to Small Celestial Bodies

  • Cross-cutting Technologies for EHF Band Space Applications

  • Extraction of Water from Hard Extraterrestrial Soils

  • Predictive Modeling of Thermal Protection Material Thermostructural Behavior

  • Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamic Modeling of Additive Manufacturing Alloy Processing

  • Lightweight Multifunctional Lattice Materials for Space Structures

  • Only accredited U.S. universities may submit proposals under this solicitation. Notices of intent to submit proposals to the Early Stage Innovations Appendix of NASA’s Research Announcement, “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration and Infusion 2017,” are due June 2. The deadline for submitting final proposals is June 30.

    The agency expects to make approximately 10-12 awards this fall with individual award amounts of up to $500,000. Research and development efforts will take place over three years.

    The Early Stage Innovations grants are managed by the Space Technology Research Grants program within STMD. The program uses fellowships and grants as a way to accelerate the development of technologies that support the future science and space exploration needs of NASA, other government agencies and the commercial space sector.

    For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants Program, visit: