NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme has announced 140 new Phase II awards to 127 US small businesses that will help them move their innovations to market. The awards investment totals $105 million.
The programme is for finding the most useful technologies for the agency and the commercial marketplace, and it sources those innovations from a diverse group of entrepreneurs with different backgrounds and perspectives. The companies chosen for Phase II funding include 33 women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned small businesses.
The awardees all received initial SBIR Phase I contracts in 2020 to ‘demonstrate the merits of their innovations and show how they could contribute to NASA’s efforts in human exploration, space technology, science, and aeronautics’.
“These small businesses received Phase I awards towards the onset of the global pandemic and persevered through it to evolve promising up-and-coming technology solutions,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “As the government helps get small businesses back on track, we value their commitment and dedication to supporting NASA missions and goals.”
The Phase II awards will provide them with each with up to $750,000 to advance their technologies toward potential commercialisation and they will spend up to two years developing, demonstrating, and delivering their proposed projects.
“The Phase II contract period is an exciting time, as small businesses put their ideas into practice and develop prototypes attractive to NASA and private investors,” said NASA SBIR Program Executive Jason L. Kessler. “The selected technologies have displayed great potential impacts for their respective sectors, and we are proud to continually invest in today’s booming aerospace economy through these small businesses.”
Companies who have benefited from funding
California-based Micro Cooling Concepts has worked with NASA’s SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programme since 2004 on various thermal management innovations. This year, NASA selected the company for a Phase II contract to build a lightweight, compact heat exchanger with possible electrified aircraft propulsion applications. Using the development and lessons learned during Phase I, Micro Cooling Concepts will advance its clean energy technology to potentially support new aircraft configurations for NASA, the military, and the commercial sector.
Tietronix Software, was selected to mature a virtual medical “expert” that incorporates AI and augmented reality. In working through its concept during Phase I, Tietronix Software recognised the need to seamlessly integrate medical resources, knowledge, training, procedural guidance, and diagnostic support. The system could provide astronauts with medical autonomy during extended missions and benefit the military or other organizations in places where medical professionals have limited availability.
(Image source: NASA)