RELEASE 12-08-2016: NASA iTech Forum Showcases Top Tech Solutions for Future Space Exploration Challenges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  DECEMBER 8, 2016

Timothy Allen
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.

NIA RELEASE: 2016-10 

NASA iTech Forum Showcases Innovators’ Top Technology Solutions for Future Space Exploration Challenges

December 8, 2016, WASHINGTON–

Innovators from across the U.S. recently traveled to NASA Headquarters in Washington to showcase their proposed solutions to solving future space exploration challenges at the NASA iTech Forum. At the end of the forum, the top three finalists were selected to further refine their innovations in the areas of radiation protection and life support systems in space.

NASA iTech is a collaborative initiative designed to help address gaps in future technologies needed for space exploration. The forum provided the opportunity for industry investors, government agencies and small businesses to collaborate with the innovators and further develop the solutions presented for space and commercial application.

“NASA has robust programs to develop and mature technologies for future space exploration, but we also recognize that remarkable solutions to our technical challenges can come from non-aerospace innovators as well,” said Kira Blackwell, Innovation program executive in the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “The iTech initiative is unique in that NASA doesn’t claim intellectual property rights to the ideas presented and provides an opportunity for industry and investors to evaluate the proposed solutions and collaborate directly with the innovators.”

NASA iTech launched last September with a call for white papers. Last week, judges evaluated entries from across the nation to select the top ten ideas presented during the iTech forum.

On Dec. 8, judges selected the top three innovations based on criteria including technical viability, the likely impact on future space exploration and commercialization potential.

The top three innovators were:

Aequor, Inc.
Oceanside, California
Entry Title: Novel Antibiofilm Molecules
Challenge Focus Area: Life Support Systems – Increase Oxygen Recovery

InnaMed, Inc.
Anaheim, California
Entry Title: Microfluidic Blood Testing Device Utilizing Electrochemical Sensing
Challenge Focus Area: Life Support Systems – Increase Oxygen Recovery

Liberty Biosecurity
Arlington, Virginia
Entry Title: Molecules to Safely Protect Against DNA Damage Caused by Ionizing Radiation in Space.
Challenge Focus Area: Radiation – Protection and Mitigation

These three finalists from Cycle 1 will receive six months of additional mentoring to help them further mature their solutions and benefit from collaboration between researchers and industry experts.

“In my experience as an investor, NASA iTech is the best forum to bring together consultants, investors, entrepreneurs and government to discuss NASA’s future technological needs to manifest large investments in space,” said Jose Ocasio-Christian, CEO of Caelus Partners, LLC, of Seattle. “In a matter of days, NASA iTech was able to align and manifest financial investments that would have taken Caelus Partners months to research and validate through traditional venues.”

The second Cycle of NASA iTech is planned to begin early next year with a call for white papers announcing the focus areas in January 2017.

NASA iTech is an initiative by the Office of the Chief Technologist in cooperation with the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia. The Office of the Chief Technologist provides the strategy and leadership that integrates NASA’s technology development and innovation activities.

For information about NASA iTech, visit:

For information about NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, visit: 



Timothy Allen
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.

Gina Anderson
NASA Headquarters, Washington