NASA has selected 128 proposals from American small businesses to advance research and technology in Phase II of its 2017 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. These selections support NASA’s future space exploration missions, while also benefiting the U.S. economy.
“We look forward to working with these promising small businesses to further advance NASA’s missions,” said Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “NASA is proud of our investment in the success of small businesses and its long-term impact on our economy.”
The selected proposals will support the development of technologies in the areas of aeronautics, human space exploration and operations, science and space technology. Awards cover a breadth of research and development needs, such as:
- Low-power, ultra-fast, deep-learning neuromorphic computer chips designed for unmanned aircraft systems, such as delivery drones. Neuromorphic computer chips can analyze, in real-time, big data streams coming from cameras, sensors and avionics, helping to achieve better navigation and collision avoidance.
- Solid-state oxygen concentrator and compressor designed to minimize hardware mass, volume and power footprint, while still performing at the required capabilities. This technology concentrates the oxygen within future crewed space environments, providing the required concentration of oxygen to crew members, while minimizing weight.
- Sensors and camera for detecting and tracking near-Earth asteroids, to help scientists detect, count and track near-Earth asteroids. These asteroids are mostly dark, small and cold and are best detected in the very long-wave infrared wavelengths greater than 12 microns, where they glow brightest.
- New wheel concept for enhanced surface mobility to emulate the behavior of a variable pressure tire without the need or risk of an inflation system. This wheel can benefit future NASA planetary exploration missions to the Moon and Mars by enhancing the mobility and controllability of surface exploration rovers and future vehicles