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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program mind map
Recent News
2024 Phase I Awardees
Selected 13 Concepts
From US Companies, Institutions
Maximum $175,000 Grants
Examples of Concepts
Flying Fixed-wing Craft on Mars
Proposed by Ge-Cheng Zha
Swarm of Tiny Spacecraft to Proxima Centauri
Proposed by Thomas Eubanks
Survive and Return Sample from Venus
Proposed by Geoff Landis
When
Announced January 2024
Why
Fund Innovative Ideas
Transform Future NASA Missions
What
Early-Stage Technology Concept Studies
Not Official NASA Missions
Diversity of Projects
From Quantum Sensors to Spacecraft Communication
Where
United States
Who
NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate
NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free
NIAC Program Executive Mike LaPointe
How
Investigate Concept Premise
Roadmap Technology Development
Identify Challenges, Opportunities
Significance
Inspiring Successful Past Missions
Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars
Instruments on MarCO CubeSats

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program supports pioneering ideas and early-stage technology concept studies that could revolutionize future NASA missions. This program focuses on innovations from diverse sources, aiming to change what’s possible in aerospace by supporting transformative space technology research. In January 2024, NASA announced 13 innovative concepts selected under this program from various U.S. companies and institutions, with each receiving a maximum grant of $175,000. These concepts range from fixed-wing flight on Mars and a swarm of tiny spacecraft traveling to Proxima Centauri, to a spacecraft designed to survive Venus’ harsh environment and return a sample from its surface. The program, funded by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, has been instrumental in inspiring successful past missions and continues to push the boundaries of space exploration.

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