NASA Launches NIAC Phase II Solicitation

Spacecraft powered by a fission fragment rocket engine being studied under a NIAC Phase 1 grant. (Robert Werka, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center)

NASA PR — National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters is releasing a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) for further studies of innovative advanced concepts. NNH12ZUA004N, entitled NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, will be available as of April 19, 2012 by opening the NASA Research Opportunities homepage at and then linking through the menu listings Solicitations to Open Solicitations.

This NRA solicits multiple studies, each of which will further investigate an architecture, mission, or system concept that has the potential to change the possible in aeronautics or space. NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is part of the Office of Chief Technologist (OCT). Aerospace architecture, mission, or system concepts proposed for NIAC Phase II studies must be exciting, unexplored, far-term, and technically credible. Narrow technology or subsystem development, and incremental improvement are explicitly out of scope for this program. Finally, while NIAC encourages great leaps and accepts the accompanying risk, proposals must be technically credible, based on sound scientific principles.

Past NIAC Phase II studies have resulted in proof-of-concept reports in new systems of all kinds, such as MITs Astronaut Bio Suit, and Complex Systems Research, Inc’s study of innovative methods for Mars cave habitation and science exploration.

This announcement is limited. All current Phase I Fellows, or their designees, of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program are eligible to submit Phase II proposals based on their Phase I study. Fellows, or their designees, of the predecessor organization, the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, are also eligible to submit Phase II proposals based on a prior Phase I study if they meet the following conditions:

The Phase I study final report was submitted AND either of the following:

  • A Phase II study based on the Phase I effort was not awarded
  • A Phase II study was awarded but not completed because funding was interrupted or not provided when the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts was terminated.

The 2012 NIAC Phase II solicitation will be a 20-page proposal. Proposals shall be submitted electronically, and all proposers shall use the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES), accessible at Potential proposers and proposing organizations are urged to access the electronic proposal system(s) well in advance of the proposal due date(s) to re-familiarize themselves with its structure and enter the requested information. Specific proposal submission deadline dates, evaluation criteria, and submission information will be identified in the NRA. Proposals will be due on or before May 31, 2012.

Comments and questions may be addressed by e-mail to NIAC Program representatives at Responses to inquiries will be answered by e-mail and also included in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document located on the NSPIRES page associated with the solicitation; anonymity of persons/institutions who submit questions will be preserved.