Early Stage Innovations (ESI)


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters has released a solicitation, titled Early Stage Innovations (ESI), as an appendix to the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) umbrella NASA Research Announcement (NRA) titled "Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2015 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2015), on May 20, 2015. The solicitation is available by opening the NSPIRES homepage at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ , selecting "Solicitations," then selecting "Open Solicitations," and, finally, selecting "Early Stage Innovations (ESI).” This Appendix seeks proposals on specific space technologies that are currently at low Technology Readiness Levels (TRL). Investment in innovative low-TRL research increases knowledge and capabilities in response to new questions and requirements, stimulates innovation, and allows more creative solutions to problems constrained by schedule and budget. Moreover, it is investment in fundamental research activities that has historically benefited the Nation on a broader basis, generating new industries and spin-off applications. Our Nation’s universities couple fundamental research with education, encouraging a culture of innovation based on the discovery of knowledge. Universities are, therefore, ideally positioned to both conduct fundamental space technology research and diffuse newly-found knowledge into society at large through graduate students and industrial, government, and other partnerships. STMD investments in space technology research at U.S. universities promote the continued leadership of our universities as an international symbol of the country's scientific innovation, engineering creativity, and technological skill. This ESI Appendix challenges universities to examine the theoretical feasibility of new ideas and approaches that are critical to making science, space travel, and exploration more effective, affordable, and sustainable. The Space Technology Research Grants Program (STRG) Program within STMD is fostering the development of innovative, low-TRL technologies for advanced space systems and space technology. The goal of this low-TRL endeavor is to accelerate the development of groundbreaking, high-risk/high-payoff space technologies, not necessarily directed at a specific mission, to support the future space science and exploration needs of NASA, other government agencies, and the commercial space sector. Such efforts complement the other NASA Mission Directorates’ focused technology activities which typically begin at TRL 3 or higher. The starting TRL of the efforts to be funded as a result of this Appendix will be TRL 1 or TRL 2; typical end TRLs will be TRL 2 or TRL 3. This Appendix seeks proposals to develop unique, disruptive, or transformational space technologies that have the potential to lead to dramatic improvements at the system level — performance, weight, cost, reliability, operational simplicity, or other figures of merit associated with space flight hardware or missions. Although progress under an award may be incremental, the projected impact at the system level must be substantial and clearly defined. This Appendix does not seek literature searches, survey activities or incremental enhancements to the current state of the art. This Appendix exclusively seeks proposals that are responsive to one of the seven topics: Payload Technologies for Assistive Free-Flyers, Robotic Mobility Technologies for the Surfaces of Icy Moons, Integrated Photonics for Space Optical Communication, Discrete Cellular Materials Assembly, Repair, and Reconfiguration, Computationally Guided Structural Nanomaterials Design, Atmospheric Entry Modeling Development Using Orion EFT-1 Flight Data, and High Voltage PMAD Electronics for Space Applications. NASA anticipates addressing other topics in future ESI Appendix releases. NASA plans to make approximately 12 awards as a result of this Appendix, subject to the receipt of meritorious proposals. The maximum award duration will be three years, although proposals for less than three years are allowed. Only accredited U.S. universities are eligible to submit proposals to this solicitation. Teaming or collaboration with other accredited U.S. universities, industry, not-for-profit entities, NASA Centers, other government agencies, and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) is permitted as specified in the solicitation. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Other Minority Universities (OMU) are encouraged to submit proposals. In addition, NASA encourages submission of ESI proposals on behalf of women, members of underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, and faculty members who are early in their career. All proposals must be submitted electronically through NSPIRES or through Grants.gov (www.grants.gov) by an authorized organizational representative. Notices of Intent (not mandatory) are due by June 12, 2015. Proposals are due on or before July 10, 2015. Detailed submission instructions are provided in the solicitation. Potential proposers and their proposing organizations are urged to familiarize themselves with the submission system(s), ensure they are registered in NSPIRES, and submit the required proposal materials well in advance of the deadline. Technical and programmatic comments and questions may be addressed by e-mail to the Space Technology Research Grants Program Executive, Claudia Meyer, at hq-esi-call@mail.nasa.gov. Procurement questions may be addressed by e-mail to the procurement point of contact on this solicitation, Carl T. Weih, at hq-esi-call@mail.nasa.gov. Responses to inquiries will be answered by e-mail and may also be included in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents located on the NSPIRES page associated with the solicitation; anonymity of persons/institutions who submit questions will be preserved.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Deleted 08/09/2015 (Archived.)
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office: NASA Headquarters
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
See "Description" below or Full Announcement for clarification.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program does not have cost sharing or matching requirements.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Headquarters Office
Claudia Meyer
Space Technology Research Grants Program Executive
Website Address
E-mail Address
Financial Information
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Awards up to $500,000.00


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