NASA Selects Small Business Award to Advance Microgravity Research & Manufacturing

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected four projects focused on advancing microgravity research and manufacturing in Earth orbit for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The Phase I awards, which are worth up to $150,000 apiece, were for projects proposed by: DSTAR Communications of Woodland Hills, Calif.; Sachi Bioworks of Louisville, Colo.; GOEPPERT of Philadelphia, Pa.; and Nanoarmor of Los Angeles, Calif.

DSTAR Communications is developing space-enhanced crystals that could be commercially manufactured on ISS.

(more…)

Continuous Composites Selected by NASA for Additive Manufacturing of Low CTE Open Isogrid Composite Structure

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (Continuous Composites PR)Continuous Composites, a pioneer of advanced® composite 3D printing technology, has been chosen by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program to additively manufacture low Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE) open isogrid composite structures for space applications, using its patented Continuous Fiber 3D Printing technology, CF3D®.

(more…)

NASA Selects Masten Space & Spectral Energies for Funding to Develop Rotating Detonation Engine Technology

An RDE operates via a continuous detonation wave that propagates around the inside of a cylindrical combustor. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected projects for funding by Masten Space Systems and Spectral Energies that are focused on developing technology for advanced rotating detonation rocket engines (RDE).

The space agency selected the companies for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards that are worth up to $150,000 apiece. Masten and Spectral Energies are both working on high-performance injector systems.

(more…)

NASA Funds R&D Projects to Improve Small Satellite Performance

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Small satellites are increasingly being used for missions in Earth orbit and deep space. Although they are easy to launch, their size limits their capabilities and usefulness to scientists. NASA has selected a pair of research and development (R&D) projects designed to address some of these limitations for continued funding under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The space agency selected Flight Works for a Phase II award to continue developing a high-performance, pump-fed transfer stage for Venture Class cislunar and deep space missions. The space agency also selected Nanohmics of Austin, Texas, for a SBIR Phase II award to continue working on adaptive optics for low-cost CubeSat optical systems. Each award is worth up to $750,000 over 24 months. Both companies received smaller SBIR Phase I awards.

(more…)

NASA Funds Advanced Robotics R&D Projects for On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected three research and development projects focused on developing on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing technologies for continued funding under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

NASA selected Motiv Space Systems of Pasadena, Calif., for two Phase II awards, and TRACLabs of San Antonio, Texas for one award. The awards are worth up to $750,000 apiece for projects lasting for 24 months. Both companies received smaller SBIR Phase I awards.

(more…)

Viasat Expands Presence with Aberdeen Proving Ground Office in Harford County, Maryland

ABERDEEN, Md. (Viasat Inc., PR) — Viasat Inc., (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, today announced the opening of a new office in Aberdeen, Maryland, located in Harford County, on the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) installation. This new office will be an important partnering location for Viasat Government Systems employees, enabling teams to deepen customer relationships and continue ongoing work to support the U.S. Army’s network transformation.

(more…)

SCOUT Awarded SBIR Grant from NASA for Development of Autonomous Relative Navigation Systems

SCOUT Awarded SBIR Grant from NASA for Development of Autonomous Relative Navigation Systems for Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Docking

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, May 31, 2022 (SCOUT PR) — SCOUT Inc., a space tech company developing autonomous proximity operations and spacecraft awareness service, today announced its selection for a NASA SBIR award to make relative navigation more resilient and enable more autonomous rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking. This effort is expected to yield advancements in autonomy and resilience across a wide range of NASA applications which often require exhaustive pre-planning and manual operations of multi-satellite systems.

SCOUT’s fault-tolerant and robust 6-degree-of-freedom finite-time controllers integrate multiple control system inputs and data sources, such as SCOUT-Vision remote sensing systems, to facilitate faster, more accurate tracking performance and more efficient control energy consumption during proximity operations than conventional controller modes in the presence of real-world challenges such as actuator faults, parametric uncertainty, and unknown external disturbances.

(more…)

NASA Funds R&D into Mitigating Dust for Future Lunar Explorers

Gene Cernan covered in moon dust after walking on the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Moon dust poses a major challenge to NASA as the space agency prepares to return astronauts to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. The abrasive, glass-like dust sticks to spacesuits, irritates throats and lungs, and threatens to clog vital equipment.

To address these challenges, NASA has selected lunar dust mitigation projects from Force Engineering, Innovative Aerospace, Smart Material Solutions and Cornerstone Research Group for continued funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The Phase II grants are worth up to $750,000 each. The companies previously received smaller SBIR Phase I grants.

(more…)

NASA Funds R&D Projects to Improve Operations of Satellite Swarms

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding a trio of research and development (R&D) projects by Nanoracks, Teltrium Solutions and Emergent Space Technologies aimed at enabling swarms of small satellites to better operate in Earth orbit and to explore other worlds.

The companies each received Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards worth $750,000 to continue work on the their technologies. They each received smaller awards under the first phase of of the program.

Nanoracks, which is based in Houston, is focused on reusing spent rocket stages known as Outposts to help improve communications with satellite swarms exploring the moon and other planets.

(more…)

NASA Funds Research to Improve Health of Astronauts

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding a pair of research and development (R&D) projects by Sachi Bioworks and Soterix Medical aimed at improving the health of astronauts flying to the International Space Station and on deep-space missions.

Each company received a Phase II award worth up to $750,000 under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. NASA previously provided smaller Phase I awards for the companies to begin R&D work.

Sachi Bioworks, which is located in Boulder, Colo., is working on pharmaceutical counter measures to protect astronauts on deep space missions from the harmful effects of radiation, which include the suppression of the immune system.

(more…)

NASA Supports Small Business Research to Power Future Exploration

A project funded by NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer program could help improve the efficiency of solar cells for space missions and use on Earth. Here, a team member installs solar panels onto the CAPSTONE spacecraft – short for Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment – before its launch to the Moon. (Image Credit: NASA/Dominic Hart)

WASHINGTON (NASA HQ PR) — NASA has selected hundreds of small businesses and dozens of research institutions to develop technology to help drive the future of space exploration, ranging from novel sensors and electronics to new types of software and cutting-edge materials. The newly awarded projects under the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program also include a high-power electric rocket and a coating to make solar panels more efficient that could be used both in space and here on Earth.

(more…)

Space Systems Command’s Front Door Initiative Aims to Detangle Military’s Convoluted Structure for Private Sector

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

To better leverage commercial capabilities, the U.S. Space Systems Command (SSC) has launched a program, the Front Door Initiative, to help companies better navigate the command’s convoluted organizational structure.

“When you guys come to us, you know who to talk to,” said Maj. Adam Bernetta, program manager for SSC’s Space Enterprise Consortium, during a keynote address on Tuesday at the Space Tech Expo in Long Beach, Calif.

Thirty years ago, governments accounted for 90 percent of space activity. With the commercial sector rapidly catching up, the US Space Force (USSF) realized it needs to improve its cooperation with private industry, Bernetta said.

(more…)

NASA Funds Company to Develop Technologies to Produce 3D Printed Nanocarbon-infused Metals in Space

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding a company to develop technology capable of 3D printing nanocarbon-infused metals in space for use in advanced electronics.

NASA selected Faraday Technology of Englewood, Ohio, for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award worth up to $750,000 to continue development of the technology. The company previously received a SBIR Phase I award.

(more…)

Astrobotic Wins $1.5M to Mature Satellite Servicing and Hazard Detection Systems for Space

Example LiDAR Reconstruction of Spacecraft (Simulated); this mapping will be generated by Astrobotic’s algorithms to enable satellite servicing and hazard detection. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic has won two NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contracts worth $1.5 million to further advance novel Laser Imaging, Detection, and Ranging (LiDAR) software solutions. When space qualified, these software packages will support in-space satellite servicing as well as safe landing on celestial objects such as the Moon or asteroids through accurate hazard detection.

(more…)