NASA has awarded contracts to 363 small US businesses to help advance the types of capabilities required for a sustained presence on the Moon and beyond. The contracts are part of the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and awarded an estimated value of more than $45 million.
“We are excited about the entrepreneurial, innovative ideas that these small businesses are bringing to the table,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “The technologies show great promise in helping NASA achieve its objectives across all mission areas, including our efforts to send American astronauts to the Moon, and then on to Mars, while also providing a long-term boost to the American economy.”
The companies selected represent 41 US states and are focusing on a wide range of research areas including aeronautics, human space exploration and operations, science, and space technology. Specific applications of the proposed research include an intelligent rover wheel, a light-weight deployable solar panel, and a technique to generate high-resolution crater maps significantly faster than current methods.
A full list of the selected companies can be found here.
NASA SBIR and STTR programs are conducted in three phases. The first phase awards a maximum of $125,000 per company, lasts up to 13 months and is used to establish the technical, scientific and commercial feasibility of the proposed innovation. The second phase awards up to $750,000, lasts up to 24 months and is focused on development, demonstration and delivery of the innovation. The final phase is focused on the commercialisation of the innovation and is funded by sources other than the SBIR and STTR programs.