NASA Looks to Go Beyond Batteries for Space Exploration

April 10, 2014

NASA is seeking proposals for the development of new, more capable, energy storage technologies to replace the battery technology that has long powered America's space program.

The core technologies solicited in the Wednesday call for proposals will advance energy storage solutions for the space program and other government agencies, such as the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) through ongoing collaboration with NASA and industry.

"NASA is focusing on creating new advanced technologies that could lead to entirely new approaches for the energy needs of the agency's future Earth and space missions," said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for space technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Over the next 18 months, NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate will make significant new investments that address several high priority challenges for achieving safe and affordable deep-space exploration. One of these challenges, advanced energy storage, offers new technology solutions that will address exploration and science needs while adding in an important and substantive way to America's innovation economy."

NASA's solicitation has two category areas: "High Specific Energy System Level Concepts," which will focus on cell chemistry and system level battery technologies, such as packaging and cell integration; and, "Very High Specific Energy Devices," which will focus on energy storage technologies that can go beyond the current theoretical limits of Lithium batteries while maintaining the cycle life and safety characteristics demanded of energy storage systems used in space applications.

Proposals will be accepted from NASA centers and other government agencies, federally funded research and development centers, educational institutions, industry and nonprofit organizations. NASA expects to make approximately four awards for Phase I of the solicitation, ranging in value up to $250,000 each.

Through solicitations and grants, NASA's investments in space technology provide the transformative capabilities to enable new missions, stimulate the economy, contribute to the nation's global competitiveness, and inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers.

The Advanced Energy Storage Systems Appendix is managed by the Game Changing Development Program within NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), and is part of STMD's NASA Research Announcement "Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2014" (SpaceTech-REDDI-2014) for research in high priority technology areas of interest to NASA.

The SpaceTech-REDDI-2014-14GCDC1 Advanced Energy Storage Systems Appendix is available through the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System at:

NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., manages the Game Changing Development Program for STMD. STMD remains committed to developing the critical technologies required to enable future exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The directorate continues to solicit the help of the best and brightest minds in academia, industry, and government to drive innovation and enable solutions in a myriad of important technology thrust areas. These planned investments are addressing high priority challenges for achieving safe and affordable deep-space exploration.

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