NASA has selected 19 proposals from American small businesses and research institutions for Phase II of its competitive Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, totaling $14.3 million in awards.
These selections are for the 2016 STTR program, which supports NASA's future missions into deep space, while also benefiting the U.S. economy. The STTR program stimulates partnerships between small businesses and research institutions by providing awards for cooperative research and development efforts with potential for commercialization.
"We are looking forward to leveraging the expertise, creativity and innovation of entrepreneurial small businesses and research institutions to further advance NASA’s missions, while simultaneously fueling the economy," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters.
The selected proposals will support the development of technologies in the areas of aeronautics, science, human exploration and operations, and space technology. Awards cover a breadth of research and development needs, such as:
• Launch propulsion systems that reflect staged development of critical technologies driven by known agency mission milestones, as well as new performance or mission capabilities
• Robotics, tele-robotics and autonomous systems that develop new capabilities and extend the reach of human and robotic exploration
• Technologies that support human health and survival during space exploration missions;
• Science instruments, observatories and sensor systems relevant to space research in science, heliophysics, planetary science and astrophysics
• Materials, structures, mechanical systems, and manufacturing that directly impact the stringent demands of NASA science and exploration missions
Proposals were selected according to their technical merit and feasibility, in addition to the experience, qualifications, and facilities of the submitting organization. Additional criteria included effectiveness of the work plan and commercial potential.
Small businesses have created approximately 55% of all jobs in the United States since the 1970s. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and STTR programs encourage small businesses and research institutions to develop innovative ideas that meet the specific research and development needs of the federal government. The programs are intended to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, increase the commercial application of research results, and encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantages persons and women-owned small businesses.
The SBIR/STTR program is managed for STMD by NASA's Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. STMD is responsible for developing the crosscutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.