NASA Supports Small Business Research to Power Future Exploration

WASHINGTON—NASA has selected hundreds of small businesses and dozens of research institutions to develop technology to help drive the future of space exploration, ranging from novel sensors and electronics to new types of software and cutting-edge materials. The newly awarded projects under the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program also include a high-power electric rocket and a coating to make solar panels more efficient that could be used both in space and here on Earth.

The awards total nearly $50 million, with investments spread out over 39 states and Washington, D.C. Under the selection, 333 proposals from 257 small businesses and 41 research institutions – including 10 Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) – will be awarded first-round funding for technology development. View the full lists of SBIR awardees and STTR awardees online.

NASA investments in American small businesses and research institutions help provide the innovations needed for the exciting and ambitious missions on the agency’s horizon and foster robust commercial space and technology sectors.

bdpatoday | ICYMI 04.30.22“NASA is working on ambitious, groundbreaking missions that require innovative solutions from a variety of sources – especially our small businesses,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Small businesses have the creative edge and expertise needed to help our agency solve our common and complex challenges, and they are crucial to maintaining NASA’s leadership in space. The SBIR program is one of the key ways we do that as well as creating jobs in a growing, sustainable space economy.”

Each proposal team will receive $150,000 – a 20% increase over previous years’ funding – to establish the merit and feasibility of their innovations. Phase I SBIR contracts are awarded to small businesses and last for six months, while Phase I STTR contracts are awarded to small businesses in partnership with a research institution and last for 13 months.

“The selections span a breadth of areas to empower the agency’s work in human exploration, space technology, science, and aeronautics,” said Jenn Gustetic, director of early-stage innovation and partnerships for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “We’re excited about the uses for these technologies for Artemis and other missions, as well as their potential use in the commercial space industry and people’s everyday lives.”

About 30% of the awards will go to first-time NASA SBIR/STTR recipients. This includes Ad Astra Rocket Company based in Webster, Texas. With its Phase I award, the company will develop a new way of manufacturing part of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, or VASIMR, engine – a high-power electric rocket engine the company has been working on with NASA for 25 years. In the engine, powerful radiofrequency waves are launched by special antennas, called couplers. The waves ionize gas into plasma, which is then accelerated to provide rocket thrust. The Phase I funding will be used to manufacture couplers in a way that increases the engine’s power limit. This innovation will help move the entire engine closer to commercialization, where it could be used for high-maneuverability satellites, lunar settlement cargo delivery, and more.

Nearly 25% of the selected companies are women-owned, veteran-owned, disadvantaged, and/or HUBzone small businesses. For example, D2K Technologies, a women- and minority-owned small business based in Oceanside, California, will create a monitoring and advisory system for health management of solenoid operated valves (SOV) used in industrial applications with its Phase I award. This technology could find use in many of NASA’s research centers, testing centers, and launch sites, since SOVs are basic components of most fluid systems. And, with the widespread use of SOVs in industrial applications, the system could be useful to oil and gas, nuclear, manufacturing, power generation, chemical, food, and pharmaceutical companies. This eight-person company is also a first-time NASA SBIR awardee.

“Finding and building a diverse community of entrepreneurs is a central part of our program’s outreach, and the efforts to reach them can start even before Phase I,” said Gynelle Steele, deputy program executive for NASA’s SBIR/STTR program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “For example, working in partnership with NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project, we started offering M-STTR planning grants last year, which incentivized partnerships between MSIs and small businesses and prepared them to submit a STTR Phase I proposal in 2022.”

National BDPA’s “Space City” Chapter in Huntsville, Alabama is a Meta Data Center  Community Action Grant winner for FY22 . Funding for nonprofits and schools support long-term vitality of Huntsville.

M-STTR awardee Oakwood University, a historically Black university (HBCU) based in Huntsville, Alabama, will continue working alongside SSS Optical Technologies, a small business also based in Huntsville, using their Phase I award to develop a new type of coating for photovoltaic (PV) cells embedded in solar sails. The coating could generate extra electricity and improve the overall PV conversion efficiency, which could advance solar sailing and other power and energy conversion needs for space exploration. This technology could improve the efficiency of commercial solar panels.

NASA selected Phase I proposals to receive funding by judging their technical merit and commercial potential. Based on their progress during Phase I, companies may submit proposals for $850,000 in Phase II funding to develop a prototype, as well as subsequent SBIR/STTR Post Phase II opportunities. The NASA SBIR/STTR program is part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate and is managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

To learn more about NASA’s SBIR/STTR program and apply to future opportunities, visit: https://sbir.nasa.gov/.

— Source and photos: NASA


A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Air Force HBCU/MI Collider
Select here to register for the third annual Air Force HBCU/MI Outreach Initiative Collider

How to Introduce New Technologies, Products, Services, and New Innovations to the U.S. Government

COLLEGE PARK, GA — The government welcomes industry and small businesses to respond under their SBIR and STTR programs, or an Unsolicited Proposal in unique ways to introduce a specific technology, a service, a product or a new innovation to the U.S. Government.

Scenario:
One has a technology, service, product or new innovation that needs to be introduced to the government but the government is not aware of this technology, these services, products or new innovations. How are technology, services, products or new innovations introduced to the government? First one needs to consider doing research and identifying issues and challenges agencies have to determine if what is offered as a solution supports some of their issues and concerns. Many times the government will release information concerning some of their issues and problems.

SBIR:
The Small Business Innovation Research program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

STTR:
bdpaxl-bizw.jpgSmall Business Technology Transfer is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR”s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

Unsolicited Proposal:
What Constitutes an Unsolicited Proposal? It is defined in FAR 2.101, as a written proposal for a new or innovative idea that is submitted to an agency on the initiative of the offering company (your firm) for the purpose of obtaining a contract with the government, and that is not in response to an RFP, broad agency announcement, or any other government-initiated solicitation or program, For an unsolicited proposal to comply with FAR 15.603(c), it must be:

  • Innovative and unique
  • Independently originated and developed by the offering company
  • Prepared without government supervision, endorsement, direction or direct government involvement
  • Detailed enough to show that government support could be worthwhile, and that the proposed work could benefit the agency’s research and development (or other mission responsibilities)
  • Not an advance government proposal for a contract the public already knows the agency will need that could be acquired by competitive methods

If interested in reviewing government agencies that provide specific instructions on how to submit an Unsolicited Proposal to their agency, review Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Unsolicited Proposal website posted here: https://www.dhs.gov/unsolicited-proposals 

by Dannie James
JE Group, LLC

 

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

USAFcyber-ad2017.jpg

Washington launches an Inclusive Innovation Incubator for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON—Aaron Saunders, CEO of Luma Lab‘s parent company, Clearly Innovative, Inc., is National BDPA‘s Washington, D.C. Chapter (BDPA-DC) 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year.

aaron-bdc16This week, the Inclusive Innovation Incubator [In3] operated by Clearly Innovative’s Luma Lab,  launches as the District of Columbia’s first community space focused on inclusion, innovation and incubation. The incubator is committed to creating a collaborative environment where under-resourced members have direct and indirect access to workspaces and services needed to firmly establish, build, and grow successful businesses.

in3-lounge2

In3, housed at Howard University, will continue to receive advice and guidance from both the District of Columbia via the Mayor’s administration and Howard University, but In3’s staff will operate independently.

This week, the new Inclusive Innovation Incubator celebrates its Week of Welcome as it aims to attract more minority entrepreneurs working on startups serving underrepresented communities.  During In3’s Week of Welcome (#In3WoW), BDPA-DC is co-sponsoring DENT Education’s Start-Up Garage, a week long youth coding program during Spring Break and BDPA-DC also is co-hosting Earth Day Tech Summit events with bdpatoday April 21-22, 2017 during Earth Day weekend with the Inclusive Innovation Incubator.

earth17-classbanner

Since 1986, National BDPA’s nationally renowned high school coding competitions and HSCC Programs continue to provide our nation with more junior developers (Jr. Devs), Interns, and start-up CEOs to tech industry pipelines, accelerators, or new incubators such as In3.

In3 will improve the business landscape in the District of Columbia by providing their new members with the right tools and access to financial, technical and professional resources.

Sources and contributors:
https://www.in3dc.com
https://www.bdpadc.org
PTTV and DCInno

csra-logo

%d bloggers like this: