NASA puts out the call for low-gravity tech

On NASA's annual Day of Remembrance for the astronauts (and cosmonauts) who died in the effort to conquer space, the space agency put forth a call to action that might interest even earthbound geeks. They're looking for tech projects in need of testing in near-weightless conditions.

The FAST (Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology Development and Training) program is seeking tech projects to take up in high-flying parabolic aircraft. It's a public-private collaboration -- the planes are owned and flown by outfits such as the Zero Gravity Corporation, and managed by the Johnson Space Center's Reduced Gravity Office. (We now pause while you enjoy the mental image the name engenders.)

What are they looking for? The search is on for projects that could benefit from testing in such extreme conditions; maybe for use on later NASA missions, maybe not. An ideal project would be at or just past the proof-of-concept phase, ready for testing in a relevant space-like environment. Individuals and small businesses are encouraged to apply for space (thought they, like anyone other awardee, will be responsible for all expenses besides flight time).

In other words: Got an idea for an invention that ought to be on the ISS or one of our next-gen spacecraft? Made some progress getting it off the ground? File the paperwork with NASA and you could get some Vomit Comet time to pursue the dream. The proposal deadline is March 20. [Image courtesy NASA.]

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