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Max Briggs: Funding Technology for Both Space and Earth

Max Briggs: Funding Technology for Both Space and Earth

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Max, the deputy chief technologist NASA Glenn Research Center of NASA. Let’s learn what’s happening at NASA and how Max is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Hi Max, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through NASA?

Max: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! We are trying to seed early stage innovations that are commercially relevant and beneficial to NASA. We believe that this will allow the benefits of space technology to have the broadest possible impact on people and the economy.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Max: Space used to be a place that was so expensive and technically difficult to access that only large governments could effectively use it. However, over time access to space has become more affordable, allowing many entrepreneurs and innovators to bring services to people on earth that would not have been possible before. I would like to make sure that NASA continues to contribute to both its outward facing goals for exploration and discovery as well as it's earth facing goals of developing science and technology for the benefit of all.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Max: My work funds innovators to develop next generation game changing technologies that have the potential to change the way people operate in space.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Max: We released the SBIR Ignite solicitation which focuses on companies making space technologies that will provide services not only for NASA but also for people on earth. This was a first of its kind initiative that could change the way NASA interacts with the private sector innovators.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Max—it’s been an honor!

Max Briggs is currently the acting deputy chief technologist at the NASA Glenn Research Center. He previously held positions as the portfolio manager for NASA SBIR Ignite and as the program executive for NASA iTech. His early career focused on engineering of nuclear space power systems. (First published on the Ladderworks website on July 18, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.