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NASA Calls for Ideas to Enhance Future Space Exploration with Next iTech Challenge

· News Release

A new cycle of the NASA iTech initiative kicks off today with a call for technical solutions to fill gaps in areas identified as having a critical impact on future space exploration.

The request for a five-page white paper is the first phase of NASA iTech Cycle III, part of a collaborative initiative to find and foster innovative solutions from small and large businesses, universities, non-profits, U.S. government organizations outside of NASA and undiscovered inventors. Inventors and entrepreneurs can enter NASA iTech Cycle III at the NASA iTech website through October 20, 2017.

"Since December 2016, NASA iTech has had 20 entrepreneurs across the U.S. present their innovative solutions to solving some of the toughest challenges here on Earth and in space," said Kira Blackwell, Innovation program executive in the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "There is no other forum where entrepreneurs have an opportunity to present their technologies and engage with the NASA chief technologists, potential investors from outside of the agency, and industry partners.”

The technology focus areas for NASA iTech Cycle III are: artificial intelligence, augmented reality advancement, autonomy, high performance computing, and medical breakthrough. The popular Cycle II category, X-Factor innovations, has been kept for Cycle III to allow for groundbreaking ideas or technology that may not align precisely with another specific focus area, but could still make a significant impact on future exploration efforts.

Proposed Timeline - Subject to Modification

Proposed Timeline - Subject to Modification

The NASA iTech white paper and application process makes it easy for anyone with potential solutions to participate. A panel of subject matter experts will review ideas submitted within the application window for Cycle III and down-select the top 10 finalists based on their relevance and potential impact in the technology focus areas. The top 10 finalists will be invited to present their ideas to NASA's top technologists, space industry leaders and potential investors at the NASA iTech Cycle III Forum, slated for late January 2018.

“This forum has proven to be a successful model for stimulating the development of groundbreaking technologies, without the government being the early investor,” said Blackwell. “At the current rate, these companies are on track to raise over $50 million dollars in private funds by December of this year. I can hardly wait to see the outcome from Cycle III.”

NASA iTech is an initiative by the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate and managed by the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia.

For information about the NASA iTech initiative, visit:

For information about the Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit:

Gina Anderson
Headquarters, Washington

Timothy Allen
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.

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