US small businesses give $51 million to NASA to invest in innovative ideas

“NASA relies on small-scale American traders for inventive technology development that assists us in attaining our extensive variation of missions,” said Jim Reuter, the associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Either are we sending rovers to Mars, creating next-generation aircraft, or landing Artemis astronauts on the moon, our small-scale traders play a vital role.” He added. 

Over 100 chosen companies are first receivers of the NASA STTR or SBIR contract. In addition, about 27% of the small-scale business comes from the underrepresented groups, which include minorities and enterprises owned by women. 

For each selection in phase 1, the companies will get $125,000. It is essential to note that the SBIR awards are given to small businesses only, as the STTR awards are given to small businesses in collaboration with a non-profit research organization. 

The proposals which are selected constitute different technologies with the intention of human exploration welfare, which includes science, aeronautics, technology and NASA’s Artemis program. Most of the innovations have a capable application on Earth. The selections include the following:

  • Opterus Research and Development in Fort Collins, Colorado- the company was chosen for the SBIR award to produce powerful solar arrays for providing energy on the Mars, moon, and spacecraft.
  • CU Aerospace in Champaign, Illinois- it was given the SBIR award to construct a sterilizer for using on the spacecraft materials and medical industry. 
  • Architecture Technology Corporation in Eden Prairie, Minnesota- the company was given the SBIR award to develop a secure and effective air traffic control system that will help in the sky’s urban transition system. 
  • Aegis Technology in Santa Ana, California, was given the STTR award to make less costly lithium-ion batteries with an extended lifespan and other pleasant performances. 
  • Paragon Space Development Corporation in Tucson, Arizona- awarded the SBIR award to develop a system to fetch and purify water on the moon. 

Phase 1 awards are given to small-scale enterprises to develop the credit and viability of their transformation. The phase 1 SBIR awards go for six months, while the phase 1 STTR awards terminate after 13 months. Depending on how they perform during phase 1, the companies can still present proposals to the upcoming/next SBIR/STTR contracts and get more funding. 

The main intention of NASA’s program is to let the agency constantly fund small-scale businesses to allow their technologies to reach various maturity stages. Phase II awards are for supporting prototyping.