NASA has picked 248 small businesses and research organizations to support the government's mission to send humans back to the moon by 2024 and to build a sustainable platform in lunar orbit for future deep space exploration.
The companies and institutions will share $45M in funding from NASA's Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, the agency said Wednesday.
NASA selected 363 proposals from the winners, of which nearly 100 are small businesses receiving their first SBIR or STTR contracts from NASA.
All the proposals will support aeronautics, human space exploration, and other scientific areas. Examples of submitted proposals include an intelligent wheel for space vehicles that can also be used for tractors on Earth and a lightweight solar panel made of film material that can be rolled up and delivered more easily than their inflexible counterparts.
“We are excited about the entrepreneurial, innovative ideas that these small businesses are bringing to the table,“ said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA.
“The technologies show great promise in helping NASA achieve its objectives across all mission areas, including our efforts to send American astronauts to the moon, and then on to Mars, while also providing a long-term boost to the American economy,“ he added.
The SBIR and STTR programs will run in three phases. Phase one involved selection of the proposals, and will be followed by phase two, which will focus on creating the technology, conducting trial runs and delivering the finished products.
Eventually, the final phase will involve funding small businesses to bring their new products and services to the private sector.