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 Selects CubeSat & NanoSat Proposals for SBIR & STTR Awards

Two ESA CubeSats, the student-built AAUSat-5 and the professional technology demonstrator GomX-3, were deployed together from the International Space Station on 5 October 2015, going on to separate to begin their missions. (Credit: NASA)
Two ESA CubeSats, the student-built AAUSat-5 and the professional technology demonstrator GomX-3, were deployed together from the International Space Station on 5 October 2015, going on to separate to begin their missions. (Credit: NASA)

NASA has selected at at least 28 proposals involving Cube-, nano- and micro-sats for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I awards.

The total includes 23 SBIR and five STTR projects. Companies are partnered with university researchers for the STTR awards.

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DARPA SBIR Awards for XS-1 & Rocket Technologies

XS-1 vehicle (Credit: Boeing)
XS-1 vehicle (Credit: Boeing)

I was conducting some research into Defense Department Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to see what space and rocket projects it has been funding.  I found a group of SBIR Phase I contracts awarded by DARPA in 2015, most of them related to the XS-1 launcher program. I don’t think I’ve written about them previously.

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TGV Rockets, South Korean Firm Team Up on Engine for Tourism Project

In an effort to jump-start a stalled space tourism project, TGV Rockets is teaming up with Seoul-based Challenge & Space to “Americanize” the South Korean company’s rocket engine, Aviation Week reports.

AirBoss Aerospace chose the Chase 10 engine for its four-seat Proteus suborbital space vehicle in 2005. However, the project has been held up due to U.S. government concerns over foreign sourcing of the rocket technology.

“We’d like to Americanize the engine, and run it through tests with more U.S. content to eventually make it a U.S.-certified engine,” C&S research engineer David Riseborough told AvWeek.

TGV is leading the effort to obtain certification for the methane-liquid oxygen engine. The Oklahoma company is looking for contracts stateside; one possibility is the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s $70 million Fully Reusable Access to Space Technology (FAST) program, which is developing technology for aircraft-type operation.