NASA injects $17M into four small companies with Artemis ambitions

NASA injects $17M into four small companies with Artemis ambitions

NASA awards hundreds of thousands of {dollars} a 12 months to small companies by the SBIR program, however typically it’s numerous small awards to tons of of firms. Breaking with precedent, in the present day the company introduced a brand new multi-million-dollar funding monitor and its 4 first recipients, addressing pressing wants for the Artemis program.

The Small Business Innovation Research program has numerous types all through the federal authorities, but it surely typically offers non-dilutive funding on the order of some hundred thousand {dollars} over a few years to nudge a nascent expertise towards commercialization.

NASA has discovered, nonetheless, that there’s a hole between the medium-size Phase II awards and Phase III, which is extra like a full-on authorities contract; there are already “Extended” and “Pilot” packages that may present as much as an extra $1 million to promising firms. But the very fact is house is dear and time-consuming, and a few want bigger sums to finish the tech that NASA has already indicated confidence in or a necessity for.

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Therefore the creation of this new tier of Phase II award: lower than a full contract would quantity to, however as much as $5 million — nothing to sneeze at, and it comes with comparatively few strings connected.

The first 4 firms to gather a test from this new, as but unnamed program are all pursuing applied sciences that will probably be of explicit use through the Artemis lunar missions:

  • Fibertek: Optical communications for small spacecraft that may assist relay massive quantities of knowledge from lunar landers to Earth
  • Qualtech Systems: Autonomous monitoring, fault-prevention and well being administration methods for spacecraft just like the proposed Lunar Gateway and presumably different automobiles and habitats
  • Pioneer Astronautics: Hardware to provide oxygen and metal from lunar regolith — if achieved, an extremely helpful type of high-tech alchemy
  • Protoinnovations: Traction management to enhance dealing with of robotic and crewed rovers on lunar terrain

It’s essential to notice that these firms aren’t new to the sport — they’ve a protracted and ongoing relationship with NASA, as SBIR grants happen over a number of years. “Each enterprise has a monitor document of success with NASA, and we imagine their applied sciences could have a direct impression on the Artemis program,” mentioned NASA’s Jim Reuter in a information launch.

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The whole awarded is $17 million, however NASA, citing ongoing negotiations, couldn’t be extra particular concerning the breakdown besides that the quantities awarded fall between $2.5 million and $5 million per firm.

I requested the company for a bit extra info on the brand new program and the way firms already within the SBIR system can apply to it or in any other case benefit from the chance, and can replace this put up if I hear again.


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