Space Technology Research Institutes Appendix Released

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters has released a solicitation, titled Space Technology Research Institutes (STRI), as an appendix to the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) umbrella NASA Research Announcement (NRA) titled “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2020 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2020)” on June 2, 2020. The solicitation is available by opening the NSPIRES homepage at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/, selecting “Solicitations,” then selecting “Open Solicitations,” and, finally, selecting “Space Technology Research Institutes (STRI).” To access the solicitation directly, visit http://tinyurl.com/NASA-STRI20.

The Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking to invest, via research institutes, in university-led, sustained, multi-disciplinary space technology research focused in strategic areas for transformative impact to future NASA exploration and science. The research institutes construct enables coordination of experts from a wide range of fields and organizations in a single distributed research structure. For research areas of overlapping interest, this approach could significantly increase partnerships between NASA, other government agencies, industry, and academia, enabling greater progress and benefit for all involved. The institute approach facilitates a more focused and coordinated set of research and development efforts than typically arise from a series of separate solicitations and individual research grants. Because the research institute maintains its focus for several years, more effective and substantial research progress is envisioned for the selected high priority research areas. The maximum award duration is five years and up to $15M total over the 5-year period. Only accredited U.S. universities are eligible to submit proposals; teaming with other accredited U.S. universities is required, and teaming with non-profit laboratories and industry is permitted. See Appendix section 3.0 for full list of eligibility requirements. The anticipated type of award instrument will be grants or cooperative agreements.

The Appendix exclusively seeks proposals that are responsive to one of the following two topics:

*         High-Power Electric Propulsion Ground Testing and Modeling Extensible to In-Space Operation
*         Revolutionary Advancements in Multidisciplinary Modeling and Simulation of Entry Systems

The financial and programmatic support for STRI comes from the Space Technology Research Grants Program within the Space Technology Mission Directorate. Awards are expected to be in place in summer 2021. Proposals are being solicited via a two-step process where preliminary proposals are mandatory, and only those invited may submit a full proposal. NASA plans to make approximately 2 awards as a result of this STRI solicitation, subject to the availability of funds and receipt of meritorious proposals. The actual number of awards will depend on the quality of the proposals received; NASA reserves the right to make no awards under this solicitation.

All preliminary proposals must be submitted electronically through NSPIRES or through Grants.gov (www.grants.gov) by an authorized organizational representative. Mandatory preliminary proposals are due on or before August 4, 2020, 5 pm Eastern, and the target deadline for invited full proposals is November 5, 2020, 5 pm Eastern. Detailed submission instructions and due dates are provided in the solicitation. Potential proposers and their proposing organizations are urged to familiarize themselves with the submission system(s), ensure they are registered in NSPIRES, and submit the required proposal materials well in advance of the deadline.

Technical and programmatic comments and questions may be addressed by email to the Space Technology Research Grants Program at hq-STMD-STRI@mail.nasa.gov. Responses to inquiries will be answered by email and may also be included in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents located on the NSPIRES page associated with the solicitation; anonymity of persons/institutions who submit questions will be preserved. It is the offeror’s responsibility to monitor the Internet site for the release of amendments (if any).