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NASA Looks To Go Beyond Batteries For Space Exploration

April 7, 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.


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