NASA has selected 39 small business proposals to enter into negotiations for Phase 2 contract awards through the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. It was announced Thursday, Nov. 8.
The SBIR program partners with small businesses to catalyze efforts to develop new technologies to support NASA’s technology needs.
NASA will award contracts to 36 small high-technology firms in 17 states with a total value of approximately $27 million.
These competitive, awards-based programs encourage U.S. small businesses to engage in federal research and development, and bring new technologies to the global marketplace.
“NASA’s SBIR activities foster innovative approaches to technology development — from concept to prototype to an eventual commercial product or service,” said Michael Gazarik, director of the Space Technology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
“Phase 2 marks a major milestone for these projects; they’ve moved from the drawing board to the lab, solving tough technology problems that will enable NASA’s future missions while bringing new, valuable products into our economy.”
The highly-competitive SBIR program is a three-phase award system. It provides qualified small businesses, including those owned by women and the disadvantaged, 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 up to six months. The selected Phase 2 projects will expand on the results of Phase 1 projects selected last year, with up to $700,000 to support research for up to two years. Phase 3 is for the commercialization of the results of Phase 2 and requires the use of private sector or non-SBIR federal funding.
Program participants submitted 246 Phase 2 proposals. Proposal selection criteria included technical merit and innovation, Phase 1 performance and results, value to NASA, commercial potential and company capabilities.
NASA is making a limited number of new SBIR Phase 2 selections at this time, and expects to make a second round of Phase 2 awards in late spring of 2013, following passage of federal appropriations for the agency.