NASA has selected 149 research and technology proposals from American small businesses and research institutions that will enable NASA's future missions into the solar system and beyond while benefiting America's technology-driven economy right here on Earth.
The selected proposals now will enter into negotiations for contract awards as part of Phase II of the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. The selected aerospace technology and innovation projects have a total value of approximately $118.1m, supporting 117 US firms and research institutions in 26 states.
“Just as small businesses are driving our economy, technology is driving exploration,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These selected proposals demonstrate the creativity of American entrepreneurs and, along with our other technology investments, will contribute to ensuring the U.S. remains a leader in technology development and space exploration.”
Of the 352 proposals received in response to the solicitations, NASA selected 119 SBIR proposals with a total value of approximately $88.8m; nine SBIR select proposals valued at approximately $13.5m and 21 STTR proposals with a value of approximately$15.8m.
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Selected proposals from these small businesses and research institutions will develop efficient energy and power systems for human and robotic spacecraft, new concepts for in-space propulsion, advanced telescope technologies to enable a new class of critical observatories, next-generation sensors to study Earth and robotic technologies to explore other planets.
A sampling of proposals demonstrates the breadth of research these awards will fund. One study will look at ultra-high energy solid-state batteries. These next-generation advanced rechargeable batteries could potentially power spacecraft traveling to distant worlds, rovers exploring alien landscapes and even human habitat systems. They also could allow electric cars to travel greater distances between charges and a cell phone’s charge to last months instead of days.
Research into departure scheduling and traffic flow management may assist NASA in enhancing integration procedures within the national airspace system. Closer to home, it could provide valuable information for planning potential delays or new routes and their effect on overall network of flight operations, cutting down on late departures and arrivals at the airport.
NASA’s SBIR Program is a competitive awards-based program that encourages American small businesses to engage in federal research, development and commercialization. The program also enables businesses to explore technological potential while providing the incentive to profit from new commercial products and services. Small businesses create about two out of every three jobs in the U.S. each year, and about half the American workforce either own or work for a small business.
NASA’s STTR Program uses a highly competitive, three-phase award system that provides collaborative opportunities between qualified small businesses, including women-owned and disadvantaged firms, and research institutions to address specific technology gaps in NASA’s programs. Selected projects provide a foundation for future technology developments and are complementary to other NASA research investments.
SBIR and STTR Phase II projects will expand on the results of recently completed Phase I projects. Phase I projects received six-month contracts up to $125,000. SBIR and STTR Phase II projects last no more than two years and receive contracts valued up to $750,000 per award. Awards under the SBIR select solicitation may be up to $1.5m per award. Phase III, or the commercialization of an innovation, may occur after successful completion of Phase II.
Selection criteria for these awards included technical merit and feasibility, along with experience, qualifications and facilities. Additional criteria included effectiveness of the work plan and commercial potential and feasibility.
NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, manages the SBIR and STTR Programs for STMD. NASA’s 10 centers manage individual projects. For more information about NASA’s SBIR and STTR Programs and a list of selected companies, visit:
STMD is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions. For more information about NASA’s investment in space technology, visit: