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Funding Available for Technology Development Research Leveraging International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory is soliciting flight concepts for technology development that would utilize the space-based environment of the orbiting laboratory. This solicitation, “Technology Development and Applied Research Leveraging the ISS National Lab,” is open to a broad range of technology areas, including chemical and material synthesis in space, translational medicine, in-space edge computing, and ISAM (in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing). It also encompasses the application of space station remote sensing data to improve geospatial analytics for commercial use.

Image Credit: NASA

Space-based technology development and demonstration is a strategic priority for the ISS National Lab, as it provides an opportunity for accelerated technology maturation that may enable advancements to improve life on Earth or build commerce in low Earth orbit (LEO). Through this research announcement, respondents may propose to use the unique environment of the orbiting platform to develop, test, or mature products and processes that have a demonstrated potential to produce near-term and positive direct or indirect economic impact.

Emphasis will be placed on proposals for testing and space-qualification of hardware prototypes and on advancing process improvements such as, but not limited to:

  • Hardware prototype testing: Innovations addressing hardware product development gaps and emerging technology proliferation in the areas of electronics; semiconductors; nanotechnologies; robotics; sensors; and communications, remote sensing, computer, and satellite technology.
  • Process improvements: Use of the space station as a test bed to advance the development of facilities for high-throughput investigations or to demonstrate new methodologies for spaceflight research and development, or the use of space-based data to facilitate modeling of industrial systems.
  • Advanced materials: Current advanced materials research that addresses the development of next-generation production methods, testing of novel materials, and the exploitation of materials with unique properties.
  • Translational medicine: Validation of accelerated disease modeling, analyzing macromolecular structures for drug design, and demonstration of novel drug delivery and diagnostic services.

An example of a recent technology development investigation sponsored by the ISS National Lab is the updated Spaceborne Computer-2 from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, being prepared for launch on Northrop Grumman’s 20th Commercial Resupply Services mission. This commercial off-the-shelf supercomputer has specifically designed software to protect it from harsh conditions and aims to reshape the trajectory of high-performance computing in space.

This research announcement will follow a two-step proposal submission process. Before being invited to submit a full proposal, all interested investigators must submit a Step 1: Concept Summary for review. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™, manager of the ISS National Lab, will host a webinar on January 18 at 1 p.m. EST to discuss space station facilities and capabilities associated with this research announcement. 

Step 1: Concept Summaries must be submitted by the end of day on March 4, 2024. Step 2: Full Proposals from those invited to submit will be due by the end of day May 7, 2024.

Flight concepts selected via this research announcement may be awarded funding to enable mission integration and operations support for projects that will be implemented on the space station.

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