Have the adventures of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars sparked some ideas for new technologies for scientific discovery and aeronautics research? Interested in helping power future missions? If so, NASA would like to hear from you!
NASA is seeking proposals from startups and small businesses for its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, one of the largest sources of early-stage technology financing in the United States. This program is designed to provide small businesses and nonprofit research institutions with opportunities to compete for federal research and development awards and to hopefully stimulate eventual commercial launch of the technology.
Inc. magazine profiled several small businesses that helped make the current MARS mission possible, including a company responsible for three pieces of imaging technology on the Curiosity and a Chattanooga-based bicycle manufacturer that worked on the rover's titanium suspension arms.
The SBIR/STTR program is based on a three-phase award system. Phase 1, a feasibility study to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of an idea, is open September 17, 2012 through November 29, 2012. Selections are expected to be announced in late February 2013. Firms successfully completing Phase 1 are eligible to submit Phase 2 proposals, expanding on the results of Phase 1.
"Space technology is the linchpin that joins together NASA's science, aeronautic and exploration goals, providing the essential new knowledge and capabilities that enables our present and future missions," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program in a statement. "The annual solicitation for the SBIR and STTR programs embodies our desire to generate innovative ideas to address NASA's future mission needs by offering a broad collection of research and development needs and opportunities."
If you think your research and development department has "the right stuff" for NASA and the space program, more information about NASA's SBIR and STTR solicitations, including how to apply, is available at NASA.
Pamela Rentz is a freelance writer and editor who has been working in marketing communications and PR for technology—from startups to Fortune 100 outfits—for more than eighteen years. She’s a regular contributor to TechWell.com and GardenTraveler.com. She’s also a Georgia Master Gardener and, when not writing, can usually be found in a garden somewhere.