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Way-out technologies win NASA’s support

NASA’s latest crop of space technology grants will fund work on projects ranging from power-beaming lasers for lunar missions to high-temperature testing of components for nuclear-powered rockets.

Those are just a couple of the 365 concepts attracting a total of $45 million in grants from NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, also known as SBIR and STTR.

Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the space agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said the release of the SBIR/STTR Phase I solicitation was accelerated by two months to help small-scale tech ventures cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

“At NASA, we recognize that small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic. … We hope the expedited funding helps provide a near-term boost for future success,” Reuter said today in a news release.

This year’s batch of SBIR/STTR Phase I grants will go to 289 small businesses and 47 research institutions across the country. More than 30% of the awards are going to first-time NASA SBIR/STTR recipients.

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NASA funds 400 bright ideas from small businesses

NASA says it’ll fund more than 400 ideas from small businesses, aimed at creating technologies ranging from plumbing fixtures suitable for the moon to AI-based medical assistants that can provide “an extra pair of trained eyes” for crews on Mars.

The contracts will provide about $51 million to 312 small businesses in 44 states and Washington, D.C., to support the development of technologies that could come in handy for space exploration or Earth-based applications.

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NASA gives $750,000 grants for space innovations

BluHaptics work
Derek Martin and Ryan Cox work on robotic instrumentation with the BluHaptics team in Seattle. (University of Washington Photo / Conrado Tapado)

Space projects led by two small businesses headquartered in Washington state — Seattle-based BluHaptics and Bothell-based Tethers Unlimited — are among 128 proposals selected by NASA to receive grants of up to $750,000.

NASA today announced its selections for 2017 Phase II grants in the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

SBIR Phase II contracts provide maximum funding of $750,000 over 24 months for the further development of projects that support NASA’s future space exploration missions while also benefiting the U.S. economy.

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