Game Changing Development


    The Game Changing Development (GCD) Program seeks to identify and rapidly mature innovative/high impact capabilities and technologies for infusion in a broad array of future NASA missions. Multiple performing teams using varied approaches will attempt to achieve selected high impact challenge goals. Performing teams are held accountable for ensuring that discoveries move rapidly from the laboratory to application. The GCD Program portfolio will produce both subsystem/system level multidisciplinary innovations and component/discipline innovations. While advances in discipline and core knowledge are by-products of the GCD Program, the objective is to mature transformational innovations for future space systems in preparation for flight demonstration.


    The GCD Program is focused on rapidly maturing high impact capability driven technologies to enable major benefits to the US space program. This program seeks to bridge the "valley of death" that has existed between a promising nascent idea and practical infusion in a space system. GCD is specifically designed to bridge high risk/high payoff technologies from discovery to use. A broad spectrum of space system technologies will be developed ranging from launch vehicle subsystems, spacecraft technologies, in-space capabilities and surface systems that support robotic and human exploration. To significantly impact the high cost and limited performance of space exploration approaches developed over the last 50 years, the GCD Program will solicit innovative ideas from all sources.

    The GCD technology development projects typically last for 2 to 3 years and are guided by a Principal Investigator (PI) supported by a team of experts. In most projects, multiple performing teams will work in parallel to mature the technologies that are the capability drivers according to the project plan. Frequent informal reviews are used to maintain the pace of innovation and to assess feasibility of the approach. It is anticipated that the high risk nature of these projects will lead to early completion of 30-40% of the efforts. The PI is responsible for transition to the end user and solicits customer requirements and applications throughout the process. Successful projects within the GCD Program will have achieved a technology maturity and customer interest at completion, such that progression into flight demonstration is expected.

    Within the GCD Program, a portfolio of large and small projects will be embraced. Large projects because of system complexity and scope will require more resources than small component or discipline level projects. In addition, to maximize the pace of innovation, the GCD Program will not employ a one-size-fits-all approach in portfolio selection or management. For example, directed efforts to seize compelling opportunities will occur with collaborative partners such as DARPA.


    The GCD Program will be accomplished through NASA's Space Technology Program and the Level II Program Office located at the Langley Research Center. Program management functions such as source selection will be accomplished at NASA HQ, whereas day to day project implementation will be performed by the Level II office. Principal Investigators will l form a virtual staff of technical and contracting experts through the Level II office.

    Questions may be directed to Steve Gaddis at