NASA iTech Focus Event Seeks Green Innovations
NASA iTech is seeking small businesses to present their innovative ideas to NASA chief technologists and industry expertsat a virtual event that focuses on solutions in two challenge focus areas that are relevant to NASA and have broad applicability in commercial markets: “Low-Cost Photovoltaic Arrays for Space” and “Recycling for Optimum Space-Age Logistics.” The window for applications to present at the 2022 NASA iTech Focus event has been extended from Feb. 25 to March 4.
Both NASA and commercial satellite providers could benefit from technology that enables the manufacturing of low-cost, high-efficiency photovoltaics for space applications at a high throughput scale.
“Many space assets are power limited due to the cost of manufacturing and launching high-performance space solar arrays” said Jason Kessler, program executive for NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. “We believe that if the progress that has been made in reducing the cost of terrestrial solar arrays can be replicated for space solar, it could provide game-changing capability for both NASA and commercial operations in space.”
The second focus area will highlight point-of-use recycling solutions for common waste streams produced in space. Proposed innovations should address the packaging waste streams from logistics supply missions and ways to reduce, reuse, or recycle other items such as food waste, human waste, or waste from paper, plastic, or cloth items.
“As crucial as reducing, reusing, and recycling is here on Earth, it is even more important in the extremely scarce environment of space,” said Kessler. “Finding a second or third life for these materials is essential to the future of long-duration human space exploration as well as the health of our current planet.”
Selected innovators will be invited to present at the 2022 NASA iTech Focus virtual event on April 28, giving them the opportunity to discuss their work with industry experts and explore potential technology development partnerships. NASA iTech will record the event and the video will be available online May 3.
NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate provides overall policy direction for implementation of the NASA SBIR/STTR programs, which NASA iTech now falls under. NASA SBIR centers on supporting entrepreneurial companies working in NASA-relevant commercial markets. NASA iTech events provide low-barrier-to-entry forums for companies to directly engage with NASA subject matter experts, private sector investors, and SBIR representatives to discuss effective commercialization paths available to companies. NASA's SBIR program is planning funded opportunities for entrepreneurs in 2022.