The E-GRID platform is being developed as an enabling device for conducting microgravity research aboard the ISS. Beginning first as an application for NASA mission programs, Techshot will have developed a unique device capable of safely performing high-voltage investigator-initiated experimentation on colloidal samples in space. Therefore, the initial targeted application of the proposed innovation is an offering of both the equipment and services associated with flight hardware and integration activities, which are highly desired by NASA-funded scientists. Last year, Techshot began negotiating, and expects to soon execute, an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with NASA to enable the Government to lease (as needed) a wide variety of our "professional grade" flight hardware. Techshot will invest in the E-GRID platform by building a technology demonstrator with internal funds. This new business model is expected be very attractive to NASA since it eliminates the Agency's upfront risk for flight hardware development, and more importantly, it reduces NASA's cost of ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the flight hardware - for the life of the equipment. Under this new entrepreneurial venture, Techshot will investing even more to develop a full complement of enabling flight research equipment and integrate and qualify them for ISS. Overall, this should result in a profitable model for Techshot and significant cost savings for NASA.
There are three potential levels of targeted applications: (1) serving the needs of commercial ISS scientists, (2) assisting these scientists in producing data for novel microstructured materials, and (3) low-gravity manufacturing of high-value finished goods. The application of the results of colloid research in space – to important terrestrial uses of novel nanostructured and microstructered materials in manufacturing, electronics and biomedicine – is the target of the commercial materials developers. Techshot expects to support the needs of private sector customers desiring to conduct cutting edge research with the proposed E-GRID technology. Recently, we met with researchers from Procter & Gamble, who previously have conducted flight experiments with colloids and have a keen interest in advancing several of their consumer products by learning more about how colloidal materials behave in microgravity. This could give rise to improvements in the composition and manufacture of their products, and prove to be valuable financially to the company. We also talked about the potential need for mass producing relatively small quantities of some unique materials that can be produced only in space, more than likely under a scenario where both the raw and high-value finished goods are transported by commercially contracted space transportation vehicles.