NASA announced the latest batch of small business grants, which provides more than 300 small companies a total of $51 million in the most crucial early-stage funding. These Phase 1 projects receive around $125,000 to help bring out new technologies in the market. The Small Business Innovation Research/Technology (SBIR) Transfer programs help investors and entrepreneurs transition their work from the lab to commercial enterprise.
This money is not like an investment, but more like a grant. All of the Phase I recipients are eligible for the larger Phase II grants when they receive it. This year the selections always cover multiple disciplines and apply to a wide range of industries. Among NASA’s own highlights in a news release is high-power solar arrays, a smart air traffic control system for urban flight, a water purification system for use on the moon, and improved lithium-ion batteries. The space agency is currently giving out $35000 to people for designing toilets for space.
— Alan Boyle (@b0yle) July 1, 2020
NASA SBIR Program grants $51 million
More than 100 of the selected companies will be first-time recipients of a NASA SBIR or STTR contract. Additionally, 27% of the small businesses are from underrepresented groups, including minority and women-owned businesses. The structure of NASA’s SBIR/STTR program allows the agency to continuously invest in small businesses as their technologies reach different maturity stages.
Phase II contracts support prototyping. The program also fosters rapid development and integration into the commercial marketplace and NASA missions through post-Phase II opportunities.
The 2020 Phase II announcements will not come for a while the space organization just released 2019’s last month. The SBIR program is one of the federal government’s inadvertently best-kept secrets, with billions allocated to a dozen agencies to distribute to small businesses.
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