OCT Communications

    The OCT Office of Communications and Outreach focuses on new and innovative ways to engage and inform a broader cross-section of the American public and NASA stakeholders about OCT activities, research, and programs. Through the utilization of new and existing communications tools, enhanced outreach mechanisms, key partnerships, we develop long-term communication strategies and plans for increasing public awareness and understanding of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist and its mission. OCT’s Office of Communications and Outreach and its embedded representatives from other NASA HQ organizations (such as the Office of Communications, OLIA, and External Affairs) is responsible for all OCT external and internal communications, education activities, media affairs activities, new and social media, association and industry relations (non-technical), OCT exhibits, speeches, external presentations, advisory committee coordination, partnership development with non-technical external entities (such as media companies), and development of all OCT communications and multimedia products.

    image of Early Stage Innovation, Crosscutting Capability Demonstration and Game Changing Technologies going into a funnel for NASA Infusion as the outcome Supporting Innovation:
    OCT Technology Partnerships and Infusion into NASA


    The Office of Chief Technologist supports partnerships to develop early stage innovations, game changing technologies and crosscutting capability demonstrations that could be infused into NASA for use in future missions.

    Game Changing Development Program
    In fiscal year 2011, NASA plans to begin the Game Changing Development Program (GCDP), an element of the Office of Chief Technologist’s Space Technology Program. The GCDP will develop novel aerospace capabilities that have more technical risk yet higher potential payoff than the technologies being developed in support of NASA’s mission directorates. These game changing technologies seek to both find the mission scenarios that make optimal use of technology advances and to find innovative technology that enables challenging mission scenarios. The GCDP focuses on developing radically new approaches to NASA’s future space missions and the nation’s significant aerospace needs. Where other technology development activities seek the steady and deliberate evolution of system and mission capabilities, the successful products of the GCDP should provide revolutionary advances in capabilities to enable missions that cannot otherwise be accomplished or that significantly improve mission performance compared with conventional approaches. The objective of the GCDP is to mature such technologies starting from a TRL of 2/3 to a TRL of 4.

    NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program
    In Fiscal Year 2011, NASA plans to begin the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The Office of the Chief Technologist is fostering the development of innovative, low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) concepts to accelerate the development of transformational capabilities and “push” technologies. NIAC will fund early studies of visionary concepts that could dramatically improve aerospace missions 10 or more years in the future.

    Space Technology Research Grants Program
    In Fiscal Year 2011, NASA plans to begin the Space Technology Research Grants Program. As part of the Office of the Chief Technologist’s Early Stage Innovation Division, this Program will foster the development of innovative low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) technologies for advanced space systems and space technology. The goal of this low TRL technology endeavor will be to accelerate the development of push technologies (technology development not directed at a specific mission) to support the future space science and exploration needs of NASA, other government agencies, and the commercial space sector.

    Crosscutting Capability Demonstrations Division Technology Demonstration Missions Program
    In Fiscal year 2011, NASA plans to begin the Technology Demonstrations Missions Program. One of the greatest challenges that NASA faces in incorporating advanced technologies into future missions is bridging the mid TRL gap (Attachment: TRL Definitions) between early development and mission infusion. Maturing a space technology to flight readiness status through relevant environment testing is a significant challenge from both a cost and risk perspective. The primary goal of the Technology Demonstration Missions Program is to mature space technologies that are of benefit to multiple customers through flight readiness and mission infusion.

    Franklin Small Satellite Subsystem Technologies Program and Edison Small Satellite Demonstration Missions Program
    In Fiscal Year 2011, NASA plans to begin two programs for small satellites. The primary goal of the Franklin Small Satellite Subsystem Technology and the Edison Small Satellite Demonstration programs will be to advance small satellite technologies. To support program formulation, the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) seeks candidate small satellite subsystem technology developments and system demonstration missions that provide transformational advancements in small satellite capabilities and/or the ability to meet specific NASA science and technology objectives through small satellite efforts. The OCT will mature technologies that are of benefit to multiple customers from ground testing through flight and mission infusion. The small satellite subsystem technology and demonstration programs will develop and operate a series of focused small satellite technology development projects from Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 3 to 5 through ground testing and from TRL 5 to 7 through small satellite flight demonstration missions.

    Partnerships, Innovation and Commercial Space
    In fiscal year 2011, NASA transitioned its Innovative Partnerships program into the Partnerships, Innovation & Commercial Space (PICS) program under its Office of Chief Technologist. PICS will continue the role of fostering innovative technology partnerships, leading technology transfer and commercialization opportunities across NASA, providing a wide range of technologies important to NASA's missions; facilitating the transfer of technology to which NASA has title for commercial application; documenting/demonstrating/communicating societal impact of NASA technology investments for public benefit, and engaging with the emerging Commercial Space sector to energize competitive domestic industries to participate in global markets and advance the development of satellite manufacturing, satellite-based services, space launch, terrestrial applications and increased entrepreneurship.