NASA has selected 137 research and technology proposals from 117 American small businesses and research institutions that will enable NASA’s future missions into deep space, while also benefiting the U.S. economy right here on Earth.

The agency received 323 proposals in response to its 2015 solicitation for its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. From those, NASA selected 134 SBIR Phase II General proposals, with a total value of approximately $100.5 million, and three Phase II Select proposals, valued at approximately $3.8 million, for contract negotiations under Phase II of the SBIR program.

Proposals were selected according to their technical merit and feasibility, in addition to the experience, qualifications and facilities of the submitting business. Additional criteria included effectiveness of the work plan and commercial potential.

“We are pleased to select more than 100 SBIR proposals again this year. These proposals represent the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses that fuel our economy and create jobs on Main Street,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The dollar value of these innovation projects represents an investment in the American economy.”

Selected proposals from these small businesses will support the development of technologies in the areas of aeronautics, science, human exploration and operations, and space technology. A sampling of proposals demonstrates the breadth of research and development these awards will fund.

Software for single-operator, multiple unmanned aircraft systems missions that could assist NASA and the commercial space industry in managing multiple rover and spacecraft missions.
The ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) process will directly print parts in one machine at one time, eliminating part movements from process to process and vendor to vendor. UAM offers the potential for lower-cost, more reliable systems over other 3-D printing techniques such as laser-based systems.
Development and commercialization of environmentally robust frequency combs that will enable the search for exoplanets. An optical frequency comb is a tool for precise measurement of color across the light spectrum.
Sensors for real-time cryogenic pipes monitoring that could be used not only for space launch facilities, but also for chemical refineries and production plants.
NASA’s SBIR program is a competitive, awards-based program that encourages American small businesses to engage in federal research, development and commercialization. The program enables businesses to explore technological potential while providing the incentive to profit from new commercial products and services. Small businesses create about two out of every three jobs in the U.S. each year, and about half the American workforce either own or work for a small business.

SBIR Phase II General and Phase II Select projects will expand on the results of recently completed Phase I projects. Phase I projects received six-month contracts as much as $125,000. SBIR Phase II projects last no more than two years and receive contracts valued as much as $750,000 per award. Awards under the SBIR Phase II Select solicitation may be as much as $1.5 million per award. Phase III, or the commercialization of an innovation, may occur after successful completion of Phase II.

NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, manages the SBIR Program for STMD. Each of NASA’s 10 centers manage individual projects.

STMD is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions. For more information about NASA’s investment in space technology, visit