Text Size
October 31, 2008

Paul Foerman, NASA Public Affairs
NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
(228) 688-1880

NASA Selects Small Business Research And Technology Projects

NASA has selected 142 proposals for negotiation of Phase 2 contract awards in the Small Business Innovation Research program, known as SBIR. The selected projects have a total value of approximately $85 million. NASA will award the contracts to 121 small high-technology firms in 27 states.

Two of the proposals will develop technologies for the Innovative Partnership Program at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center:

  • "Intelligent Flamefinder Detection and Alert System" with International Electronic Machines Corp. of Albany, N.Y.
  • "Sensor Area Network for Integrated Systems Health Management" with Mobitrum Corp. of Silver Spring, Md.

The SBIR program supports NASA's mission directorates by working with them to competitively select ventures that address critical research and technology needs for agency programs and projects. The effort addresses specific technology gaps in mission programs and strives to complement other agency research investments.

Program results have benefited numerous NASA efforts, including modern air traffic control systems, Earth-observing spacecraft, the space shuttle, the International Space Station and rovers and labs on Mars.

Highly competitive, the SBIR program is a three-phase award system. It provides qualified small businesses – including women-owned and disadvantaged businesses – with opportunities to propose unique ideas that meet specific research and development needs of the federal government.

Phase 1 is a feasibility study to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of an idea. Awards are for periods as long as six months in amounts as much as $100,000. Phase 2 expands on the results of the development in Phase 1. Award durations are as long as two years in amounts as much as $600,000. Phase 3 is for the commercialization of the results of Phase 2 and requires the use of private sector or non-SBIR federal funding.

NASA received 259 Phase 2 proposals. The criteria used to select the winning proposals included technical merit and innovation, Phase 1 results, value to NASA, commercial potential and company capabilities. Examples of research areas among this group of selected proposals for each Mission Directorate include:

Aeronautics Research:

  • Antenna technologies for airborne hazard detection and avoidance systems
  • Novel materials to improve engine control of supersonic aircraft

Exploration Systems:

  • Technologies needed for lunar operations including moon dust-tolerant mechanisms, hazard detection and avoidance systems, and robotic navigation equipment
  • Technologies to monitor crew health and well-being during long duration missions


  • Instruments for use on planetary probes to help detect past and present life
  • Propulsion systems to send small, low-cost satellites from Earth orbit to the moon or beyond

Space Operations:

  • Band pass filter technologies to improve ground-based laser communication receivers
  • Enhanced hydrogen flame detection to improve safety at test facilities and launch sites

The SBIR program is part of NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, working with U.S. industry to develop pioneering technologies, infuse them into agency missions and transition them into commercially available products and services.

NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the program for the Innovative Partnership Program office. NASA's 10 field centers manage individual projects.

For a list of selected companies and more information about the program, visit: http://www.ipp.nasa.gov/ti_sbir.htm.

For information about Stennis Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis/.


- end -

text-only version of this release

Page Last Updated: October 23rd, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator