*NASA has awarded $50 million in funding to hundreds of small businesses to develop technology “to help drive the future of space exploration.”
“NASA is working on ambitious, ground-breaking missions that require innovative solutions from a variety of sources – especially our small businesses, said Pam Melroy, NASA Deputy Administrator.
“Small businesses have the creative edge and expertise needed to help our agency solve our common and complex challenges, and they are crucial to maintaining NASA’s leadership in space. The SBIR program is one of the key ways we do that as well as creating jobs in a growing, sustainable space economy,” Melroy continued.
As reported by Small Biz Trends, the awards are being managed by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. Per a news release, the awards total nearly $50 million, with investments spread out over 39 states and Washington. Under the selection, 333 proposals from 257 small businesses and 41 research institutions – including 10 Minority Serving Institutions – will be awarded first-round funding for technology development.
According to the press release, “Each proposal team will receive $150,000 – a 20% increase over previous years’ funding – to establish the merit and feasibility of their innovations. Phase I SBIR contracts are awarded to small businesses and last for six months, while Phase I STTR contracts are awarded to small businesses in partnership with a research institution and last for 13 months.”
“The selections span a breadth of areas to empower the agency’s work in human exploration, space technology, science, and aeronautics,” said Jenn Gustetic, director of early-stage innovation and partnerships for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “We’re excited about the uses for these technologies for Artemis and other missions, as well as their potential use in the commercial space industry and people’s everyday lives.”
About 30% of the awards will go to first-time NASA SBIR/STTR recipients, per the news release.
“Finding and building a diverse community of entrepreneurs is a central part of our program’s outreach, and the efforts to reach them can start even before Phase I,” said Gynelle Steele, deputy program executive for NASA’s SBIR/STTR program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
“For example, working in partnership with NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project, we started offering M-STTR planning grants last year, which incentivized partnerships between MSIs and small businesses and prepared them to submit a STTR Phase I proposal in 2022,” Stelle added.