The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program supports innovative research through two phases of study. Phase I awards are one-year efforts to explore the overall feasibility and viability of visionary concepts. The 2013 Phase II proposal call will be released to eligible recipients of Phase I awards, past and present, to further develop the most promising Phase I concepts for up to two years and to explore potential infusion options within NASA and beyond. 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.
NIAC focuses on early studies of visionary aerospace concepts. These will be architecture, mission, or system concepts, roughly Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 1-2 in maturity, aiming ten or more years in the future.
The concept must be:
- An aerospace architecture, mission, or system.
- Exciting - offering a potential breakthrough, or great leap in capabilities relevant to NASA goals or aerospace endeavors.
- Unexplored - with basic feasibility and properties not previously understood nor readily determined. The concept may be based on new technology, or a novel approach with existing technology, as long as it is different enough to require basic investigation. Some technology required for a NIAC concept may not yet exist, provided the bounding assumptions about it are reasonable.
- Far-term - very early in development, requiring at least 10 years of further analysis, design, testing, and refinement for practical implementation. (Farther out is acceptable; some concepts likely require more than 30 years but may still be very worthy of initial study.)
- Technically credible - have a sound scientific and engineering basis, and a reasonable implementation path.
The purpose of NIAC Phase II awards is to continue the exploration and development of revolutionary advanced concepts that have been initiated through a NIAC Phase I award. The primary goal of the Phase II effort is to study major feasibility issues associated with cost, performance, development time and key technologies. These results are aimed at providing a sound basis for NASA to consider the concept for further development and a future mission, substantiated with a description of applicable scientific and technical disciplines necessary for development. Toward that end, the proposed Phase II study must:
- Continue to develop the concept studied in the Phase I award - refinements or advances identified in the Phase I effort are expected to be incorporated in the Phase II concept, but it must be essentially based on the Phase I award concept.
- Continue to assess the concept in a mission context - the main focus should be determining feasibility and comparing properties/performance with those of current missions/concepts. Concepts that may support multiple missions should discuss the range, but must feature detailed analysis for at least one candidate mission.
- Assess the programmatic benefits and cost versus performance of the proposed concept - show the relationship between the concept's complexity and its benefits, cost, and performance.
- Develop a pathway for development of a technology roadmap and identify the key enabling technologies