Summary of NASA NIAC Projects

NIAC 2019 Phase I Selections


Robert Staehle Low-Cost SmallSats to Explore to Our Solar System’s Boundaries NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena, CA 91109-8001


Venus Exploration

PHASE I Javid Bayandor BREEZE- Bioinspired Ray for Extreme Environments and Zonal Exploration University at Buffalo - The State University of New York Buffalo, NY 14260-8000

Erik Brandon Power Beaming for Long Life Venus Surface Missions NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena, CA 91109-8001


Ana Diaz Artiles SmartSuit: A Hybrid, Intelligent, and Highly Mobile EVA Spacesuit for Next Generation Exploration Missions Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station College Station, TX 77843-0001


Tom Ditto Dual Use Exoplanet Telescope (DUET) 3DeWitt LLC Ancramdale, NY 12503-0010

Lunar Exploration

Joel Sercel Lunar-Polar Propellant Mining Outpost (LPMO): Affordable Exploration and Industrialization TransAstra Corporation Lake View Terrace, CA 91342-6810

George Sowers Thermal Mining of Ices on Cold Solar System Bodies Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO 80401-1833

Propellant from lunar polar ice will lower all transportation costs beyond low Earth orbit by factors from three to seventy.


Yu Gu Micro-Probes Propelled and Powered by Planetary Atmospheric Electricity (MP4AE) West Virginia University Morgantown, WV 26506-6106

Troy Howe SPEAR Probe - An Ultra Lightweight Nuclear Electric Propulsion Probe for Deep Space Exploration Howe Industries LLC Tempe, AZ 85281-8473

Noam Izenberg RIPS: Ripcord Innovative Power System Johns Hopkins University Laurel, MD 20723-6005

Geoffrey Landis Power for Interstellar Fly-by NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH 44135-3127

Space debris

John Slough Crosscutting High Apogee Refueling Orbital Navigator (CHARON) for Active Debris Removal MSNW LLC Redmond, WA 98052-3557

As the largest concentrations of high mass debris are in the inclination band of 81 to 83 degrees and in the altitude range of 800 to 1300 km, it is removal of debris from these regions of space that will first be analyzed. Therefore, the phase I effort proposed here will focus on the mission analysis and orbit calculations for the retrieval of the more massive objects at a range of altitudes centered about 950km and 82 degrees inclination.