By NASA // May 15, 2021
NASA has a long history of helping America’s entrepreneurs
(NASA) – NASA has a long history of helping America’s entrepreneurs develop technology from ideas to commercial readiness.
The agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program promotes this legacy with 140 new Phase II awards for 127 US small businesses that will help them bring their innovations to market.
The awards for these small businesses in 34 states and Washington, DC totaled $ 105 million. NASA’s Small Business program aims to find the most useful technologies for the agency and commercial marketplace and to source those innovations from a diverse group of entrepreneurs with different backgrounds and perspectives.
Firms selected for Phase II funding include 33 women, minority, and veteran owned small businesses.
All award winners received initial SBIR Phase I contracts in 2020 to demonstrate the benefits of their innovations and how they can contribute to NASA’s efforts in human exploration, space technology, science, and aerospace.
With the Phase II awards, they will each receive up to $ 750,000 to advance their technologies towards potential commercialization. Companies will spend up to two years developing, demonstrating and implementing their proposed projects.
“These small businesses received Phase I awards for the global pandemic outbreak and persisted in developing promising emerging technology solutions,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).
“As the government helps get small businesses back on track, we appreciate their dedication and dedication to supporting NASA missions and goals.”
InnoSys Inc., a small, women-owned company in Salt Lake City, Utah, developed a concept for a camera that can operate at extremely high temperatures – perhaps even on Venus, where surface temperatures can reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
His innovation replaces glass covers in conventional picture tubes with other materials such as quartz or sapphire, which can withstand harsh environments.
In addition to space mission applications, the company would like to develop cameras for imaging fires or high-temperature furnaces at close range, as well as for inspecting nuclear reactor cores.
NASA wants to help small businesses like InnoSys focus on commercialization. The program provides small businesses with additional funding opportunities, if their Phase II work proves successful, and helps them find clients outside of the agency.
“The Phase II contract term is an exciting time as small businesses put their ideas into practice and develop prototypes that will appeal to NASA and private investors,” said Jason L. Kessler, executive of NASA’s SBIR program.
“The technologies selected have shown great potential impacts in their respective sectors, and we are proud to be consistently investing in today’s booming aerospace industry through these small businesses.”
California-based Micro Cooling Concepts has been working with NASA’s SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program on various thermal management innovations since 2004.
That year, NASA selected the company for a Phase II contract to build a lightweight, compact heat exchanger with potential applications for electrified aircraft engines.
Using the developments and insights from Phase I, Micro Cooling Concepts will continue to develop its clean energy technology to potentially support new aircraft configurations for NASA, the military and the commercial sector.
Tietronix Software Inc., a small, minority-owned Houston company, was selected to develop a virtual medical “expert” encompassing artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
In developing its Phase I concept, Tietronix Software recognized the need to seamlessly integrate medical resources, knowledge, training, procedural instructions and diagnostic support.
The system could give astronauts medical autonomy during longer missions and benefit the military or other organizations in places where medical professionals are limited.
NASA had announced Phase I awards of $ 45 million to another group of small businesses back in March 2021.
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