Dr. Larry P. Cooper is Program Executive for the NASA Centennial Challenges Program. The program uses prize incentive competitions to drive technological innovation of interest to NASA and the country. He is responsible for strategic leadership of the program, serving as the senior NASA official responsible for the overall management of the program within the Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT).
He will give a presentation to and engage with the Science Diplomats Club of Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.
Dr. Cooper received Aerospace Engineering B.S., M.S., and PhD degrees from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati. He began his federal career at the NASA Lewis Research Center in aircraft emission reduction research and later led a series of rocket engine research and development programs. Later he joined the University of Cincinnati and led their Space Engineering Research Center.
Prior to rejoining NASA in 2011, he led the Space Science Group at the Ohio Aerospace Institute and served on the NASA Science Mission Directorate supporting formulation and execution of their Education and Public Outreach Program.
Cooper will discuss the eight-year history of the NASA Centennial Challenges program and lessons learned in developing and using prize competitions to spur technological innovation.
The current program portfolio includes three active competitions:
− Sample Return Robot Challenge ($1.5M) requires demonstration of an
autonomous robotic system to locate and collect a set of specific sample types
from a large planetary analog area and return the samples to the starting zone.
− Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge ($3M) requires competitors to deliver a
payload with a mass of at least 1 kilogram and dimensions of at least 10x10x11 centimeters to Earth orbit and complete at least one orbit past the launch site and deliver the payloads successfully at least two times within one week.
− Night Rover Challenge ($1.5M) will demonstrate a portable energy collection and storage system suitable for rovers that can operate through several cycles of lunar daylight and darkness.