For seven consecutive years, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has collaborated with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS), manager of the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory, for a research funding opportunity focused on transport phenomena and nanoscale interactions in low Earth orbit. This year’s joint solicitation will award up to $3.6 million for multiple flight projects to leverage the ISS National Lab to enable fundamental research in the fields of fluid dynamics, particulate and multiphase processes, thermal transport, combustion and fire systems, and nanoscale interactions.
Fundamental science is a key area of focus for the ISS National Lab, NSF, and NASA, as research in the persistent microgravity environment of the orbiting laboratory spurs advances that bring value to our nation and pave the way for future inquiries in low Earth orbit.
Many processes that affect the behavior of fluids on Earth, such as convection, sedimentation, hydrostatic pressure, and buoyancy, are absent in microgravity. The persistent microgravity environment on the ISS provides several benefits for the study of fluid dynamics, multiphase processes, thermal transport, combustion and fire systems, and nanoscale interactions. Responsive proposals will describe how the proposed research will utilize the unique environment of the ISS to advance fundamental and translational research to benefit life on Earth.
Through this partnership, CASIS will facilitate hardware implementation and in-orbit access to the ISS, and NSF will fund the selected projects to further fundamental science and engineering knowledge.
Prior to submitting a full proposal to NSF for this solicitation, all interested parties must submit a Feasibility Review Form to CASIS for an evaluation of the operational feasibility of the proposed work to be conducted on the orbiting laboratory. The deadline to submit a Feasibility Review Form is January 25, 2022. Only projects that pass the CASIS Feasibility Review will be invited to submit a full proposal to NSF. The notification of a passing score must be included in the full proposal submission. NSF will close this grant solicitation on March 21, 2022.
Last summer, an awarded project from a prior NSF and CASIS solicitation made headlines when unusual “cool flames” were discovered during the investigation onboard the space station. Results from this project, led by a team of researchers from the University of Maryland, could lead to advancements in future engine production on Earth.
For more information on this solicitation, including how to submit a Feasibility Review Form, visit the CASIS solicitation webpage.
To learn more about previous CASIS and NSF research collaborations and additional opportunities to leverage the ISS National Lab, please visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.