As the nation celebrates Small Business Week, May 4 – 8, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland continues its ongoing commitment to small businesses through financial programs that stimulate business development and innovation in hundreds of communities across the country.

So far in fiscal year 2015, which began on Oct. 1, Glenn has awarded more than $130 million in procurement contracts to small businesses across the nation.  This represents 60 percent of Glenn’s fiscal year 2015 procurement budget to date.  Since fiscal year 2010, the value of all contracts Glenn awarded to small businesses totaled approximately $1.45 billion, with an annual average award of $242 million. 

“Small businesses are crucial to sustaining Glenn’s game changing research and development of aerospace technologies,” said Glenn Director Jim Free.  “Because of the investment Glenn makes in the small business sector, we’re helping further economic growth while creating jobs and positioning these businesses for an ever expanding role in NASA’s missions on Earth and in space.” 

Besides traditional contracts, Glenn also supports small business through its Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, and Small Business Technology Transfer, or STTR programs.  To date in fiscal year 2015, Glenn’s SBIR and STTR award amounts total approximately $5.5 million.  These awards fund small business research supporting Glenn’s six core competencies of air-breathing propulsion; power, energy storage, and conversion; in-space propulsion and cryogenic fluids management; communications technology and development; in-space physical sciences and biomedical technologies; and materials and structures for extreme environments.  Since 2010, the center has issued SBIR and STTR awards totaling $119.5 million.  Annually, Glenn’s awards reflect roughly 20 percent of NASA’s total SBIR and STTR budget. 

Among the businesses that have benefitted from Glenn’s SBIR and STTR programs are Kennedale, Texas based Carbon-Carbon Advanced Technologies, which partnered with center engineers to create a rocket nozzle extension for the RL10 engine.  The nozzle will provide equal or better performance than current options, for about half the cost.  Another participating business, Integrated Sensing Systems, Inc., of Ypsilanti, Michigan, developed wireless, implantable cardiovascular system sensors to help Glenn human health researchers better understand blood flow in astronauts during spaceflight.  The sensors have since been undergoing clinical trials in Europe. 

According to the Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

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