NASA has selected 139 proposals for follow-on funding through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The Phase II awards will provide approximately $104m to 124 small businesses located across 31 states.

NASA annually invests in small US businesses with promising technologies that can both benefit space missions and improve life on Earth.

“Small businesses offer innovative solutions that benefit every area of NASA and often find applications outside of the agency,” said Jim Reuter, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington.

“This announcement is another step forward in NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach. The agency continues to invest in and support small business, as they continue to mature important technologies for future missions that can also benefit us on Earth.”

The awards will help NASA advance its priorities, such as the Artemis programme, along with other initiatives in aeronautics, human exploration and operations, science, and space technology.

Companies selected are previous NASA SBIR Phase I award recipients who have established the feasibility of their proposed technologies. As Phase II awardees, the companies will develop, demonstrate and deliver their technologies to NASA.

Among the Phase II selections are: 

  • A women-owned small business in Gaithersburg, Maryland, that will develop a more reliable and highly efficient energy storage system.
  • A small business in Knoxville, Tennessee, that will advance a lighter-weight shield material for fission power systems.
  • A small business in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that will mature technology that could provide astronauts with a virtual assistant abroad spacecraft.

“We are encouraged by the ingenuity and creativity we’ve seen from these companies in their Phase 1 work,” said Jenn Gustetic, the NASA SBIR program executive.

“We have also worked hard to reduce the time selected companies wait for their first Phase II payment, knowing how critical access to capital is for our aerospace research and development firmed right now.”

“The applications of their technologies, both inside and outside of NASA, are promising, and we look forward to seeing what this next round of accelerated seed funding will do.”

The program is part of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and is managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.