NASA has selected 355 U.S. small businesses this year for Phase I and II funding from the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, a total investment of $150 million to the American economy.
U.S. small businesses and research institutions will help NASA advance technologies critical to space exploration and the Artemis program, climate research, and advanced air mobility.
NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will manage 77 of the new SBIR and STTR Phase I and II selections, a total investment of approximately $20 million.
“It really shows that we have a lot of people at Langley who support SBIR at Langley and American small business,” said Keith Woodman, SBIR operations manager for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).
NASA selected 365 proposals for SBIR and STTR Phase I awards and 140 proposals for SBIR Phase II awards. Phase I contracts provide businesses up to $125,000 for the opportunity to demonstrate the merits of their innovations and show how they could contribute to NASA’s efforts. The Phase II awards provide the selected businesses each with up to $750,000 to advance their technologies toward potential commercialization.
The selections span the breadth of NASA missions to empower the agency’s work in human exploration, space technology, science, and aeronautics. Some examples of selected Phase I proposals being managed by Langley include:
- Psionic, LLC., a Hampton, Virginia-based company, which will advance 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, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which will to apply machine learning techniques to airborne science planning. They are developing 3D insights into atmospheric parameters that can inform decisions before takeoff and inflight for maximization of science objectives.
- AvMet Applications, based 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.
One of the selected Phase II companies, Dynovas, Inc. based in Springfield, Virginia, proposed to demonstrate its motorless array deployment energy system prototype. The technology could be used to deploy a solar array on the Moon or power satellites or CubeSats.
Thirty-seven Virginia-based companies were selected for Phase I and II awards and 18 of those proposals will be managed by Langley. Four of the selected companies that will be working with Langley are women-owned, three are veteran-owned, and seven are socially or economically disadvantaged.
“Small businesses have the opportunity to contribute to NASA’s mission and that’s a deal maker for a lot of people,” said Mariana Goldin, SBIR program analyst. “And there are a lot of success stories; SBIR technology has made it to Mars.”
Technologies supporting the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, including re-chargeable batteries, a compressor, a UV laser, and a torque sensor were developed with support from the SBIR/STTR program. The small businesses have the opportunity to work with NASA, “and NASA gets to work with people in industries, companies, and academia who may think outside the box – there’s idea generation that goes both ways,” added Rachel Lomax, SBIR program analyst.
Through the SBIR and STTR programs, NASA works with U.S. small businesses and research institutions to advance cutting-edge technologies. In Phase I the agency provides up to $125,000 for companies 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. Based on their progress during Phase I, companies may submit proposals to subsequent SBIR/STTR opportunities and receive additional funding.
Phase II awardees all received initial SBIR Phase I contracts in 2020 to demonstrate the merits of their innovations. The Phase II awards will provide them each with up to $750,000 to advance their technologies toward potential commercialization. The companies will spend up to two years developing, demonstrating, and delivering their proposed projects.
NASA’s SBIR/STTR program is part of STMD and managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.
To view the NASA SBIR 2021 Phase I selections, visit:
To view the NASA STTR 2021 Phase I selections, visit:
To view the full list of the latest NASA SBIR Phase II selections, visit: