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Daring to Innovate: 15 ICA Project Finalists Awarded


Catherine Ragin Williams |
May 8, 2019

More than 40 innovators from NASA’s Johnson Space Center and White Sands Test Facility answered the call to provide bold, revolutionary ideas for Innovation Charge Account (ICA) projects. This year, the theme of the call was: “Dare to Innovate for JSC/White Sands Test Facility and Lunar Exploration.”

ICA projects call not only for creative ideas, but creative ideas to be implemented in short timeframes—16 weeks—and with up to $10,000 in funding per project. However small these plans seem within the grand scheme of human space exploration, each proposal has the potential to solve a problem or answer a challenge that may have never before been the subject of such direct attention. And with NASA’s own bold target to have spacesuited boots on the lunar surface by 2024, innovative ideas—both big and small—will be required to make it a reality.

“The JSC Technology Working Group (JTWG) worked diligently to review these projects and select the top 15 to invest in—that show high potential for enhancing or enabling future human space exploration missions or JSC’s Center Operations,” said Ronnie Clayton, Johnson’s deputy chief technologist.

Co-sponsored by the JSC Chief Technologist Office and the JTWG, the ICA process has, for the past 10 years, provided grant money funding and opportunities for employees to gain project management experience and investigate ideas that may not fit in the normal scope of work. Many of these technologies and improvements have the potential to positively impact the agency’s future endeavors.

This year’s 15 projects will only add to that legacy, showing that each and every one of us at Johnson has the potential to embrace creative thinking and do the revolutionary work that will get humans on the Moon once more—and to destinations beyond.

Did you miss your chance to contribute a proposal this year? Look out for the next Call for Innovative Ideas in April 2020.

Be sure to congratulate this year’s 15 ICA project finalists:

Eduardo Beltran/SA: Test Bed for Human Performance in Mockup Suit

Toni Clark/SA: Spacecraft Lighting to Mitigate Microbial Growth

Jared Daum/EA: Reefing Release Mechanism

Kenton Fisher/XA: Finding, Accessing, Characterizing and Processing Ice Deposits in the Lunar Environment

Robert L. Howard/SA: Common Habitat for Long-Duration Transit and Surface Operations

Han Kim/SA: 3D Estimation of EVA Suit Posture from Photographs

Ryan M. Lawrence/NA: Spacesuit Wrist Bladder

James S. McCabe/EA: Anonymous Feature Tracking for Enhanced Navigation

Charles Nichols and Anthony M. Milana/RA: Inspections of Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels

Sam Pedrotty/EA: COTS Camera-Based Star Tracker

Satish Reddy/EA: Airbag Shaker Amplifier System

Robert W. Sanders/SA: Enhancing Contingency Performance and Safety

Yoshino S. Sugita/SA: Tools for Multi-Use Cells Applications on Astronauts

Jonathan Tylka/RA: Supersonic Particle Impact Rapid Target Testing

Xulei Wu/SA: 3D Printed Prototype to Enhance Space Food System

The 2019 Innovation Charge Account called for revolutionary ideas to explore this magnificent rock, among improving other processes at the center. Image Credit: NASA


Like what you see? Download new NASA Gateway, Moon and Mars posters at nasa.gov/moon2mars.
Like what you see? Download new NASA Gateway, Moon and Mars posters at nasa.gov/moon2mars.