by Linda Herridge NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
Researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently put a new, small robotic rover through its paces inside a 120-ton bin of regolith rock and dust that simulates the lunar surface.
The four-wheeled CubeRover rolled over dunes of abrasive dust, turned in place, and then trundled up and down steep trench walls within the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations (GMRO) laboratory as it performed more than 150 mobility tests. The rover’s creators, from Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, worked alongside Kennedy’s Swamp Works team, assessing the robot’s maneuverability and how its sensor, motor, and power systems operated in the dusty environment.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 19 proposals from 17 U.S. small businesses for a total of more than $14 million in follow-on funding through the agency’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The awards will help advance NASA priorities such as the Artemis program and other initiatives in aeronautics, human exploration and operations, science, and space technology.
NASA’s STTR program is open to small businesses partnering with U.S. research institutions to develop an innovation or technology. The partnering component distinguishes STTR from its sister program, NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR).
As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the moon in the Artemis program, the space agency is increasingly eyeing the use of lunar resources to reduce the expense of launching everything from Earth.
NASA recently selected 10 proposals to develop technologies for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 409 technology proposals for the first phase of funding from the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The contracts will provide approximately $51 million to 312 small businesses in 44 states and Washington, D.C.
“NASA depends on America’s small businesses for innovative technology development that helps us achieve our wide variety of missions,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Whether we’re landing Artemis astronauts on the Moon, sending rovers to Mars, or developing next-generation aircraft our small business partners play an important role.”
Between 2014 and 2017, NASA awarded Boeing a total of $64 million in performance awards for its work on the Space Launch System (SLS) despite significant schedule delays and cost overruns in the program.
It was only after the NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) questioned the propriety of the awards that SLS program officials began “providing Boeing award fees that better reflected actual performance,” the space agency’s watchdog said in a new report.
As NASA contemplates deep space missions to the moon and Mars, the space agency faces increasing challenges in keeping its astronauts physically and mentally healthy.
One of the key elements in that challenge is fresh food. Currently, fresh produce is supplied periodically to astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on resupply ships. Crew members have also grown small quantities of vegetables on board.
Resupply becomes a more difficult task on deep space missions due to distance. Thus, astronauts will need to grow more of their own food. Last week, NASA announced three Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards to advance that goal.
NASA has selected Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for funding to continue development of technologies to enable groups of rovers to cooperatively explore the surface of other worlds.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Twenty-one American small businesses will assist in research relevant to NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach as well as other needs across the agency. The technology development could also bring about Earth-based applications.
The Phase II awards are part of NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The research and technology proposals, collectively valued at $15.75 million, will be completed through partnerships between the selected small businesses and U.S. research institutions—a requirement of STTR.
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — In 2013, a startup company had an idea for using extremophile organisms from volcanic springs to create edible proteins that would serve as an environmentally conscious alternative to meat-based proteins.
Following a handful of small investments from government agencies, including a $124,000 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract from NASA, Sustainable Bioproducts announced in early 2019 it received $33 million in venture capital financing, including backing from two of the world’s biggest food and agriculture companies.
During the 1970’s, David Bowie sang about Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from Mars. If Tethers Unlimited has its way, the Red Planet will be crawling with them.
Earlier this month, NASA selected the Bothell, Washington-based company for a small business award to work on its Sensing and Positioning in Deep Environments with Retrieval (SPIDER) surface exploration system.
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Managing pilotless aircraft and solar panels that could help humans live on the Moon and Mars are among the technologies NASA is looking to develop with small business awards totaling $106 million. In all, NASA has selected 142 proposals from 129 U.S. small businesses from 28 states and the District of Columbia to receive Phase II contracts as part the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
“Small businesses play an important role in our science and exploration endeavors,” said Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “NASA’s diverse community of partners, including small businesses across the country, helps us achieve our mission and cultivate the U.S. economy. Their innovations will help America land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024, establish a sustainable presence on the lunar surface a few years later, and pursue exciting opportunities for going to Mars and beyond.”
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Small businesses are at the cutting edge of research, with fresh and unexpected ideas. NASA hopes to leverage innovative small business concepts for use on Earth, at the Moon and beyond.
NASA’s Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs seek proposals that could be integrated into NASA missions and commercial markets. The 2019 solicitationencourages U.S. small businesses and research institutions to submit ideas related to NASA’s aeronautics, human exploration, science and space technology objectives.
PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) – Today Astrobotic announced a program to study advanced navigation techniques that could allow the next generation of spacecraft to target landings at some of the most interesting scientific destinations in the solar system.