NASA to invest $105 million in American Small Businesses

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NASA has continuously funded technological growth in the USA. The agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program invests further in 355 U.S. small businesses this year for Phase I and II funding, which will help commercialize cutting-edge technology.

The awardees all received initial SBIR Phase I contracts in 2020 to showcase how their innovations could contribute to NASA’s human exploration, space technology, science, and aeronautics efforts. The Phase II awards will provide them with up to $750,000 to advance their technologies toward potential commercialization. They have up to two years to develop and deliver their projects. The following businesses were amongst the many selected for Phase I:

· Opterus Research and Development in Loveland, Colorado: Develop high-power solar arrays to provide power on the Moon, Mars, and onboard spacecraft.

· InnoSys Inc in Salt Lake City, Utah: developed a concept for a camera that can operate in extremely high temperatures, enabling thermal imaging on the surface of Venus or inside nuclear reactors. 

· Architecture Technology Corporation in Eden Prairie, Minnesota: to advance a safe and efficient air traffic control system for urban transportation systems in the sky. The system could help cities plan for commercial air taxi services.

· Tietronix Software Inc., in Houston: to mature a virtual medical expert that incorporates artificial intelligence and augmented reality. 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.

· Paragon Space Development Corporation in Tucson, Arizona: to mature a system to collect and purify water found on the Moon. The research and development could inform how to generate products with local materials in space.

· Aegis Technology in Garden Grove, California, in partnership with Cornell University: to develop low-cost lithium-ion batteries with more desirable performance, including longer lifespans. The batteries could benefit hybrid-electric or all-electric power generation.

  • Psionic, LLC., in Hampton, Virginia: to develop entry, descent, and landing flight sensors and instrumentation for lunar landings with a new optical network for higher efficiency. The new technology would reduce the size of Psionic’s Navigation Doppler Lidar, potentially reducing costs.
  • Spectral Sensor Solutions, LLC, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, applies machine learning techniques to airborne science planning. They are developing 3D insights into atmospheric parameters that can inform decisions before takeoff and inflight to maximize science objectives.
  • Avnet Applications, in Reston, Virginia: which will design and build a modular, weather-aware Urban Air Mobility system capacity manager to support NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility goal of facilitating a dynamic, weather-resilient urban air transportation system.

Many small businesses have emerged as success stories after procuring the financial boost and expert guidance from NASA. In the post-pandemic economy, this is more important than ever to let the slump hit the research that could lead to potential breakthroughs. NASA previously announced $45 million in Phase I awards to another small business group in March 2021.

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