NASA Selects 20 Innovation Fund Projects

NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program, working with the Office of the Chief Engineer at NASA Headquarters, has selected 20 projects for the 2009 NASA Innovation Fund.

The fund was established to advance work from NASA innovators on novel technologies and concepts that have the potential to revolutionize the way NASA performs its missions such as enabling new capabilities in space flight, science, aeronautics or exploration. Projects that also offer potential solutions to other national and global challenges are of particular interest.

The selected projects include a technique for returning small payloads from the space station, a new approach to robotic space exploration, several new concepts for generating solar power, improved instruments for studying the environment, the use of microwave energy for sealing wounds, and nano-materials for scientific instruments and energy storage.

The selected project teams are led by NASA scientists and engineers and include partners from five universities, two small businesses, Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and the National Institute for Aerospace in Hampton, Va.

More than 230 proposals were submitted this year. Each project is funded for a maximum of $50,000, with work to be completed by the end of September.

  • Small Payload Quick Return (SPQR) – Marcus Murbach, ARC
  • Graded Ablating (TPS) Materials Development, Characterization, and Modeling – Frank Milos ARC
  • Breaking Barriers in Antenna Size, Weight, Power and Cost – Lawrence C. Freudinger DFRC
  • Human Exploration using Real-time Robotic Operations (HERRO) – Steven R. Oleson GRC
  • Investigation of Anomalous Heat Observed in Bulk Pd – Gustave C. Fralick GRC
  • Nano-Supercapacitor with Carbon/Boron Nitride Nanotubes – Janet B. Hurst GRC
  • Molecular Adsorber Coating – Wanda Peters GSFC
  • A Space Weather Service for NASA’s Robotic Missions – Michael Hesse GSFC
  • Concentrated Solar Power Array for Ground and Space – Tom Cwik JPL
  • Silicon-Immersed Waveguide Spectrometer for Space-Borne Far-Infrared Astrophysics and Earth Climate Studies – Charles Bradford JPL
  • Lightweight, High Power, Deployable Solar Cells – Steven Koontz JSC
  • Seal and Heal Thermal Microwave Based Emergency Wound Treatment Final – Diane Byerly JSC
  • Repair Techniques for Composite Structures – LaNetra Tate KSC
    Dust Tolerant Intelligent Electrical Connection System Mark Lewis KSC
  • Mimicking Gecko Foot Surfaces for Lunar Dust Mitigation – Connell LARC
  • Axial Curved Element Structural Beam – Paddock LARC
  • Low Mass Solar Cells for Space Environments – Jan Rogers MFSC
  • Conversion Coating Lubrication Systems for Cryogenic Seals – James Richard MFSC
  • Harvesting Vibrational Energy to Power Wireless Instrumentation Systems – Scott Jensen SSC
  • Coanda Rocket Plume Deflectors for Large-Scale Test Facilities – Dr. Daniel Allgood SSC