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NASA awards $96 million to American small businesses to foster research

The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs provide funding to small American businesses to encourage development and research. Image credit:

In an effort to enhance progress by small enterprises in space-related research and development, NASA recently awarded a total of $96 million to 128 American businesses. The funding, topping out at $750,000 per awardee, is part of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and is designed to support NASA programs while also benefiting the U.S. economy.

“NASA is proud of our investment in the success of small businesses and its long-term impact on our economy,” said NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate acting Associate Administrator Jim Reuter in a release issued by the space agency.

The awards cover 22 focus areas ranging from systems supporting human spaceflight to those benefiting more Earthly endeavors. Among those selected for this second phase of SBIR is Boulder Environmental Sciences and Technology (BEST).

Colorado-based BEST is looking to develop a new antenna for use on small, low-cost satellites like CubeSats. The company hopes to build upon its industry experience to create deployable antennas for the diminutive spacecraft that would allow for greatly enhanced communications, and at longer distances, when compared to traditional CubeSat antenna systems.

The company is one of 128 spread across 29 states to have received funding from NASA for SBIR Phase II.

“We look forward to working with these promising small businesses to further advance NASA’s missions,” Reuter said.

SBIR and its companion Small Business Technology Transfer program were designed to spur small businesses and research facilities to produce innovative concepts and designs meant to benefit the federal government, and is managed by the Science Technology Mission Directorate at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.




Curt Godwin has been a fan of space exploration for as long as he can remember, keeping his eyes to the skies from an early age. Initially majoring in Nuclear Engineering, Curt later decided that computers would be a more interesting - and safer - career field. He's worked in education technology for more than 20 years, and has been published in industry and peer journals, and is a respected authority on wireless network engineering. Throughout this period of his life, he maintained his love for all things space and has written about his experiences at a variety of NASA events, both on his personal blog and as a freelance media representative.

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