WASHINGTON, April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA has selected 27 small business proposals that address critical research and technology needs for agency programs and projects for final contract negotiations.
The proposals have a combined value of approximately $16.2 million. Proposals were submitted by 27 high-tech firms in 18 states, partnering with 24 research institutions in 19 states. Negotiated individual awards, each with a value of up to $600,000, will be for research projects for two years.
The proposals are included in Phase II of NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer program. The agency's Office of the Chief Technologist manages the program as part of its focus on emerging technologies and efforts to advance technological innovation for NASA and the government.
"Through programs like this, NASA is investing in innovation in America's small businesses and universities," said NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "There is no shortage of technological innovators in this country; we simply need to invest in them. Investing in research and technology, the U.S. will not only extend its technological superiority, but also will stimulate our economy, creating new high-tech jobs, products and services all across our country."
The program's innovations address specific technology gaps in NASA missions; provide a foundation for future technology needs; and are complementary to other agency research investments.
Innovative technologies in the program include:
-Information technologies that enable planetary robots to better support human exploration.
-Advanced space power and propulsion technologies that will result in durable, long-life, lightweight, high performance space power and in-space systems to fulfill the nation's exploration goals.
-Modern computational fluid dynamics codes to solve fluid motion equations and enhance the modeling required for a wide range of NASA missions, including subsonic commercial aircraft, rotorcraft, supersonic and hypersonic vehicles and planetary exploration vehicles.
The highly competitive program is a three-phase award system. It provides qualified small businesses, including women-owned and disadvantaged firms, with opportunities to propose innovative ideas meeting specific research and development needs of the federal government. The program requires a collaborative research effort between small businesses and research institutions.
The criteria used to select the winning proposals included technical merit and innovation, Phase I program results, value to NASA, commercial potential and company capabilities.
Phase I is a feasibility study to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of an idea. Awards are for up to 12 months in amounts up to $100,000. Phase II expands on the results of the development in Phase I. Phase III is for the commercialization of the results of Phase II and requires the use of private sector funding.
NASA is required by statue to reserve a portion of agency research and development funds for awards to small businesses. NASA works closely with the Small Business Administration ensuring compliance with federal regulations related to the program.
The Office of the Chief Technologist manages the program through NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. Individual projects are managed by NASA's field centers.