NASA Funds Six Small Spacecraft Technologies for Development

NASA has selected six small satellite technology projects for continued development under phase II of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The selected proposals included: two projects focused on in-space propulsion; two systems for de-orbiting satellites; one project focused on radiation shielding for small spacecraft; and an improved turbo-pump for small satellite launch vehicles.

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NASA STTR Awards Focused on Advanced Thermal Protection Systems

This computer-generated art depicts Orion’s heat shield protecting the crew module as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

As NASA is funding research into lighter and more capable thermal protection systems (TPSs) producing using additive manufacturing (3D printing) as it looks to land ever larger payloads on other worlds and return extraterrestrial soil samples to Earth.

The space agency recently selected four heat shield proposals from corporate-university partnerships for funding under its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The phase 1 grants are worth up to $125,000 over 13 months.

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NASA Selects 3 Small Business Projects Focused on ISS Utilization

NASA astronaut and Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams works with the WetLab-2 system aboard the International Space Station.  (Credit: NASA)

NASA has selected three proposals focused on the utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 program.

NanoSonic wants to demonstrate the production of photovoltaic cells and arrays aboard the station. Made in Space’s proposal is focused on production of glass alloys in microgravity. IRPI wants to demonstrate a system for better handling liquids for life support and other uses.

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NASA Selects Propulsion SBIRs & STTRs

NASA LOGOAs I was looking through NASA’s recent small business selection announcement for propulsion-related projects, I have found that the space agency has selected 29 Small Business Innovation Research and 8 Small Business Technology Transfer proposals for funding.

The proposals cover a wide range of areas, including in-space propulsion for CubeSats to technologies for new launch vehicles. Several proposals are also focused on in-space propellant depots.

A list of the selected projects with links to the proposals follows.

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NASA Funding Research on Self-Repairing Composite Materials

NASA LOGONASA is funding two research programs focused on developing advanced carbon composite materials that can detect and repair damage they suffer.

The space agency is funding the research under its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.  It recently selected two projects for continued funding under Phase II of the program, which provides contracts for up $750,000 apiece.

One project selected for negotiations is being undertaken by Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation of Manassas, Va., and the University of Massachusetts — Lowell. The research proposal is for the automated manufacturing of damage detecting, self-healing composite cryogenic pressure vessels.

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