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NASA Picks 350 Small Businesses for Tech, Research Projects

NASAneeds help filling technology gaps ? and help soon will be on its way courtesyof as many as 350 small businesses that NASA has handpicked to address"critical" research and technology needs within the agency.

Thetechnology firms, which were selected from a pool of nearly 1,900 proposalsfrom across the U.S., are negotiating contracts for seedfunding with NASA , officials announced Dec. 8.

Whentalks end, NASA anticipates the businesses will create or improve new productsand services as part of the agency?s Small Business Innovation Research Program(SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR).

"The(programs) help facilitate innovative researchand technology development among America?s most creative smallbusinesses," said Bobby Braun, NASAchief technologist in Washington, D.C.

Pastprojects within the two programs have impacted the International Space Station,air-traffic control systems and robotic explorers.

Thisyear, some businesses proposed working on:

  • Analytical and experimental methodologies for reliably predicting the effects of aeroelasticity and its impact on aircraft performance, flight dynamics and safety of flight.
  • Advanced photovoltaic systems to enable low cost, low mass, high reliability and efficient power generation systems for a wide variety of deep space exploration missions.
  •  Innovative technologies for accurate measurements of atmospheric parameters and surface topography of the Earth, Mars, the moon and other planetary bodies.
  •  Technologies that provide innovative ways to leverage existing International Space Station facilities for new scientific payloads and on orbit analysis to enhance capabilities and reduce sample return requirements.

NASAplans to distribute about $50 million among the businesses, with roughly $45million going toward projects for the SBIR program.

Officialsuse a three-phase award system to distribute funds. NASA picked businesses forPhase 1 based on their experience, qualifications and facilities as well astheir proposals? technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential. InPhase 1, businesses receive as much as $100,000 to evaluate the scientific andtechnical merit of their ideas. Upon completion, businesses then must submit aPhase 2 proposal in which they expand on the results of the developments infirst phase. Phase 3 focuses on commercialization and requires the use ofprivate sector or non-SBIR federal funding.

NASAwill award SBIR contracts to 309 technology firms in 37 states and award STTRcontracts to 41 technology firms in 16 states. Businesses in the STTR programwill partner with 41 universities or research institutions in 22 states. NASA?sAmes Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., manages the programs, and NASA's10 field centers manage individual projects.

Fora complete list of selected companies, click here.

ReachBusinessNewsDaily staff writer Brian AnthonyHernandez at Bhernandez@TechMediaNetwork.com.Follow him on Twitter (@BAHjournalist) and become hisfriend on Facebook (BAH Journalist)to interact or stay updated on news about small businesses.

Thisarticle was provided by BusinessNewsDaily, a sister site of SPACE.com.

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