NASA Looks To Small Businesses For Big Space Programs
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NASA is seeking proposals for the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs to enable future space exploration while helping to seed viable commercial products and services here in the US.
Small businesses and nonprofit research institutions that participate in the SBIR and STTR Programs are provided with opportunities to address specific technology gaps in NASA missions. The programs stimulate opportunities for the commercialization of new technologies developed through federal research and development. Many NASA efforts have been aided through the program results, such as modern air traffic control systems, Earth and sun observing spacecraft, the International Space Station (ISS), planetary and astrophysics science missions and the technologies needed for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
“America’s small high-tech businesses are the catalyst for innovation in our technology based economy,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology in Washington. “Our SBIR and STTR programs provide an on-ramp for partnering with NASA on new technologies that will enable our future missions and improve life here on Earth.”
The programs are highly competitive, and based on a three-phase award system. Phase 1 uses a feasibility study to evaluate an idea’s scientific and technical merit. If a company successfully passes Phase 1, it is eligible to submit Phase 2 proposals, which expand on the result of Phase 1. Phase 3 builds on Phase 2, with commercialization of the proposal. This commercialization requires the use of private sector or non-SBIR federal funding as innovations move from the laboratory to the marketplace.
The deadline for submitting proposals for either program is Jan 29, 2014. NASA expects to finish the initial selection process in late April. The SBIR and STTR programs are managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. Individual programs are managed by NASA’s 10 field centers.