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NASA issues challenge to find innovative materials for future spacecraft, spacesuits

WASHINGTON, 27 April 2013. NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. State Department, and Nike have issued a challenge to identify 10 game-changing innovations related to fabric systems.

Fabrics, and the materials from which they are made, are important for designing new spacecraft and spacesuits that will protect astronauts as they venture to outer-space destinations. Innovations presented at the LAUNCH: System Challenge 2013 forum may lead to new, stronger, lighter and more affordable fabrics that will benefit NASA as it sends humans deeper into the solar system.

Spacecraft traveling to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, such as an asteroid or Mars, will need stronger materials to protect astronauts from galactic radiation. Likewise, when astronauts are outside their spacecraft exploring an asteroid or the Martian surface, they will need new, stronger, more durable, and more flexible spacesuits.

The challenge, open through July 15, seeks creative innovations in the materials from which fabrics are made, with a focus on positive social and environmental impact in space and on Earth. Ten innovators will be selected to present their fabrics solutions at the LAUNCH: System Challenge 2013 forum, which NASA will host 26-28 Sept. 2013 at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

NASA and the LAUNCH Council, which is made up of thought leaders representing a diverse and collaborative body of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, government, media and business, will participate in the forum and help guide these innovations forward. The selected LAUNCH innovators will receive networking and mentoring opportunities from influential business and government leaders, as well as portfolio presentations.

For more information about LAUNCH: System Challenge 2013 and how to enter the challenge, visit: http://www.launch.org/challenges/systems-2013


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