NASA selects small business, high-tech projects for development

WASHINGTON, 28 Nov. 2009. NASA executives have selected for development 368 small business innovation projects that include research to minimize aging of aircraft, new techniques for suppressing fires on spacecraft, and advanced transmitters for deep space communications.

Posted by Courtney Howard

WASHINGTON, 28 Nov. 2009. NASA executives have selected for development 368 small business innovation projects that include research to minimize aging of aircraft, new techniques for suppressing fires on spacecraft, and advanced transmitters for deep space communications.

The competitively selected awards will address agency research and technology needs, says a NASA representative. The awards are part of NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The SBIR program selected 335 proposals, from a pool of more than 1,600, for negotiation of Phase 1 contracts. The STTR program chose 33 proposals, having a combined value of approximately $3.3 million, for negotiation of Phase 1 contract awards. The selected SBIR projects have a combined value of approximately $33.5 million. The selected STTR projects.

The SBIR contracts will be awarded to 245 small, high-technology firms in 36 states. The STTR contracts will be awarded to 31 small high technology firms in 19 states. As part of the STTR program, selected firms will partner with 26 universities and research institutions in 20 states.

Past innovations from the program have benefited a number of NASA efforts, including air traffic control systems, Earth observing spacecraft, the International Space Station and the development of spacecraft for exploring the solar system.

A few of the research areas among this group of selected proposals include:
-- Novel computational tools to better design future hypersonic spacecraft
-- New approaches to fire suppression in spacecraft environments
-- Technologies to monitor crew health and well being using very small scale testing devices
-- New instruments for small lunar rovers or landers to enable critical mineralogical analysis for studying regolith, rock, ice, and dust samples
-- Advanced transmitters for deep space communications

The SBIR program is a competitive, three-phase award system that provides qualified small businesses opportunities to propose unique ideas that meet specific research and development needs of the federal government.

The criteria used to choose these winning proposals included technical merit and feasibility, experience, qualifications and facilities, effectiveness of the work plan, and commercial potential and feasibility.

The SBIR and STTR programs are part of NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. NASA works with U.S. industry to infuse pioneering technologies into agency missions and transition them into commercially available products and services.

NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SBIR and STTR programs for the Innovative Partnerships Program. Each of NASA's 10 field centers manages individual projects.

For a list of selected companies and more information about the program, visit: http://www.ipp.nasa.gov/ti_sbir.htm

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