NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Research Grant Proposal Submission

Confidence: na | Importance: 2 | Novelty: 7
Post #: 35 | finished | Topics: personal

posted 2019-09-22

The internet is an amazing place. I few weeks ago, I tweeted asking if anyone wanted to contract out my undivided attention.

Not two weeks ago, Roko Mijic, a mutual twitter follower who I knew of from LessWrong, but didn’t really know, reached out to me with an interesting idea. He and some acquaintances had this novel physics idea for more efficiently lifting matter from ground to orbit, and wanted to apply for a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts grant to research it further. Unfortunately, they were not qualified for it as they were not affiliated with a qualifying institution, but as a student at an academic institution, I was qualified. Basically, if I were willing to do my part to get through my college’s bureaucracy and help put together a grant proposal, we could potentially make this neglected physics research happen, and I could be the principal investigator of the $125k federal research grant.
Anyways, long-story-short, we managed to overcome the obstacles and bureaucracy and just submitted a well-done grant proposal we cranked out in less than two weeks. I guess the moral of the story is that great things can come from internet collaboration and being willing to act quickly under uncertainty.

P.S. The physics idea, in a nutshell:

Just submitted to NIAC at NASA. A Space Runway is a Launch Assist System consisting of a long tube in orbit which works as a massive momentum bank. A rocket brings a magnetic ship to intersect, magship reaches orbit by Eddy Current Braking, Runway is reboosted via ion rocket. Luke Parrish (@lsparrish) September 22, 2019

Update: Unfortunately, it didn’t work out :( . Their letter was kind of bullshit to be honest—it didn’t even sound like they read our proposal. It’s possible they denied it because they figured I was an undergrad from a small college who hadn’t worked with them before. Regardless, the idea of a space runway is not dead yet!