NASA Selects Small Enterprises and Research Groups for Technological Progress in 2024

NASA is set to award nearly $45 million in funding to approximately 250 small business teams through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The aim is to support the development of new technologies in line with NASA’s priorities, which include achieving carbon neutrality and improving energy storage for a variety of applications both in space and on Earth.

The selected small businesses and research institutions will each receive $150,000 to demonstrate the merit and feasibility of their proposed innovations. Around one-third of these are first-time recipients of NASA’s SBIR/STTR awards. These Phase I contracts will run for six months for the SBIR awardees and 13 months for the STTR awardees.

One such recipient is Exquadrum Inc., a minority-owned small business based in California. Exquadrum’s proposed technology could support NASA’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality in the U.S. by 2050. This technology is a propulsion system that offers high energy conversion efficiency without emitting pollutants. It’s also compact and reliable, even in extreme weather conditions, and could potentially be used in the exploration of planets with atmospheres similar to Mars.

Another recipient is a team from Energized Composite Technologies, based in Orlando, Florida, which is partnering with the University of Central Florida. They plan to develop carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite structural batteries for use in space. These structural battery panels incorporate energy storage functionality directly into the spacecraft’s structural components. This design minimizes the need for additional space for electric storage and maximizes the available volume for payload.

Based on their progress during Phase I, these businesses may later submit proposals for up to $850,000 in Phase II funding to develop prototypes. This investment by NASA underscores its commitment to fostering innovation and technological advancement through partnerships with diverse small businesses and research institutions across 41 states.

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