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

Regeneron STS 2017 Public Exhibition of Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Please join the 40 Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS) 2017 finalists as they display and present their research at the National Geographic Society in downtown Washington, D.C.

intelsts2015On Sunday, March 12, 2017, Regeneron STS finalists will discuss their projects with visitors who share an enthusiasm for science research. Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron are proud to support these students and hope the exhibition and interaction with them will inspire students, teachers, parents, scientists, and others. Admission is free.

Regeneron STS is the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition, providing an important forum for original research that is recognized and reviewed by a national jury of professional scientists. Alumni have made extraordinary contributions to science and have earned many of the world’s most distinguished science and math honors, including eight Nobel Prizes, five National Medals of Science and two Fields Medals.

intelsts2015_scottAnnually, over 1,800 high school seniors from around the country accept the challenge of conducting independent science, math or engineering research and completing an entry for the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Above, BDPA Washington’s Keith Scott with Industry
executives during Intel STS Awards Gala.

Contact the Society for additional information about the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition.

Sunday, March 12, 2017
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

National Geographic Society
1145 17th St N.W
Washington, D.C.

Members of the media and bdpatoday staffers may contact Gayle Kansagor for more information.

— Source and cover photo:  Regeneron STS 2017
Award photos: BDPA Washington, D.C.

Patriots Technology Training Center to Host 19th Annual Youth Summit on Technology

Seat Pleasant, MD—”Empowering Students Through Technology” has been the mission for over 19 years by increasing the number of students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) ultimately leading towards college education and career paths in these fields. Over the years, Patriots Technology Training Center (PTTC) has partnered with major technology corporations, governments, non-profits such as BDPA, and related foundations to support their mission.

pttc-cyber2015bPatriots’ program stems from having an annual Youth Summit on Technology, Summer Camps and the Patriots STEM Carnival. Patriots also engages in Lego, Robotics, Bio-medical, Solar System, Flight Simulation, Video Design, Cyber Security and Science Bowl competitions. PTTC students have attended the National Society of Black Engineers conferences from Charlotte, NC; Boston, MA; Las Vegas, NV; to Dallas, TX.

This year, Patriots Technology Training Center will host their 19th annual Youth Summit on Technology at Bowie State University, Saturday, April 30, 2016. Select here for details.

—Source and photos: Patriots Technology Training Center

Don’t miss the largest celebration of STEM in the US!

USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo at Washington Convention Center

April 16-17, 2016

WASHINGTON—What is the universe made of? Why did dinosaurs go extinct? What do magic tricks and hip-hop have to with math? What will be the next medical breakthrough? What do fossils and rocks tell us about the Earth’s secrets? What does baseball have to do with physics? Find out at the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo! Explore 3,000 hands-on exhibits from the World’s leading professional scientific and engineering societies, universities, government agencies, high-tech corporations and STEM outreach and community organizations.

USASEF_16The two-day Expo is perfect for teens, children and their families, and anyone with a curious mind who is looking for a weekend of fun and discovery. More than 350K+ attendees will celebrate science at the Expo, and engage in activities with some of the biggest names in STEM, hear stories of inspiration and courage, and rock out to science during our incredible stage show performances.

The Expo is the pinnacle event of the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival to be held in the greater Washington D.C. area in April 2016. The Festival is a collaboration of over 1,000 of the nation’s leading science and engineering organizations. For more information on all Festival events and how you can get involved, visit www.usasciencefestival.org.

Source: http://www.usasciencefestival.org

Science Fair @ The White House

WASHINGTON—This year’s White House Science Fair highlighted the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and innovators.

sci-fairWHStudents who attended this year’s Science Fair attempted to tackle some of our Nation’s greatest challenges – from combating climate change, to uncovering new ways to fight cancer, to discovering ways to reach farther beyond our atmosphere as a part of the Mars generation.

Select here to discover more

— Source and photos: White House, #WHScienceFair

DOD STEM Leads in Technology and Innovation

WASHINGTON—The Department of Defense (DoD) STEM mission is to attract, inspire, and develop exceptional STEM talent across the education continuum to enrich our current and future DoD workforce to meet defense technological challenges. In alignment with the Federal plan, the Department’s strategy collectively addresses critical STEM challenges as a national priority through communication, talent inspiration and cultivation, and diversity emphasis using evidence-based approaches.

dodstem2DoD provides learning opportunities from elementary school through graduate school to inspire and cultivate a diverse pool of exceptional STEM talent.

DoD programs connect STEM education in the classroom to the excitement, skills, and challenges that come with safeguarding our country.

Discover more at dodstem.us or watch their latest video.

—Photos and video courtesy: Department of Defense
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