NASA announced this week that it would be awarding $106 million to small businesses in the U.S. as part of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
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Jim Reuter, the acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a Tuesday statement that small businesses are helping NASA reach its goal.
“Small businesses play an important role in our science and exploration endeavors,” Reuter said in a statement.
NASA said it has received 142 proposals from 129 small businesses in the U.S. The proposals are aimed at helping NASA with technologies that could send humans to the moon in the next five years. The agency said they selected the plans based on the business’ qualifications and experience.
Some of the ideas include solar panels “that deploy like Venetian blinds,” a permanent magnet "enabling in-space assembly of large platforms," high-resolution X-ray tools and sensor technology.
The businesses that were chosen can then submit a proposal for phase II, which has a 24-month contract and funding up to $750,000. The third and final phase includes “the commercialization of innovative technologies, products and services.”
The focus of the SBIR program is to encourage small businesses to create innovative ideas helpful to the federal government.
“Since the 1970s, small businesses have created approximately 55 percent of all jobs in the United States,” NASA said.