Fall 2020 Newsletter


National Aeronautics and Space Administration 

Volume 14, Number 3 | Fall 2020


Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program

In This Issue

Hello, Innovators • Key Program Milestones • Other Opportunities

• MITTIC Spinoff Competition • Events • Recent Successes

Hello, Innovators

Gynelle Steele Image

Next week I hope many of you will join us for our first-ever virtual Innovation & Opportunity Conference, hosted by the NASA SBIR/STTR program on October 20-22. The theme of this event is transition, which the NASA SBIR/STTR program defines as moving your technology towards integration into a NASA or other government agency mission and/or the commercial market. Our agenda is designed to provide small businesses and research institutions with plenty of engagement sessions and resources that will help you take actionable next steps for transitioning your technology or innovation. Many of these sessions are relevant no matter where you are in your NASA SBIR/STTR journey – whether you are just starting out or ready for a Phase III. Check out our agenda here and keep an eye out for more updates to come.

I’m thrilled to be speaking at this event, along with several other amazing speakers from NASA and in the industry. You can find our diverse lineup of speakers here, which I’m proud to say features many trailblazing women of NASA—including Astronaut Sunita Williams—as well as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Registration is free, so I hope you can tune in! Once registered, you will get access to our resource library, which contains helpful materials organized according to the different phases of the SBIR/STTR process. You can visit sbir.nasa.gov/ioc to register now.

This event takes place right before our 2021 Phase I SBIR/STTR solicitation, which is scheduled to be open from November 9, 2020 to January 8, 2021. Mark your calendars and consider attending the Innovation & Opportunity Conference as a step to support your proposal preparation.

– Gynelle Steele, NASA SBIR/STTR Deputy Program Executive

Key Program Milestones

  • NASA SBIR/STTR 2021 Phase I Solicitation – Scheduled for November 9, 2020 to January 8, 2021.
    • This is an accelerated release of the annual solicitation for 2021 to give firms an opportunity to receive Phase I funding sooner than our typical January release.
    • Prepare by joining us for the Innovation & Opportunity Conference (see above) and reviewing past NASA SBIR/STTR solicitations: sbir.nasa.gov/solicitations
  • NASA 2021 CCRPP – Application period open from October 26 to December 7, 2020.
    • The FY21 NASA Civilian Commercialization Readiness Pilot Program (CCRPP) will open soon. Eligible firms must secure funding from one or more investors, and NASA will match the investments with SBIR/STTR program funds between $500,000 and $3 million for each CCRPP award.
    • Learn more: sbir.nasa.gov/content/post-phase-ii-initiatives#CCRPP
  • STTR 2019 Phase II Selection Announcement – Scheduled for December 1, 2020
    • Phase II contracts last for 24 months with a maximum funding of $750,000. Only small businesses awarded a Phase I contract are eligible to submit a proposal for a Phase II funding agreement.
    • Learn more: sbir.nasa.gov/content/nasa-sbirsttr-basics
  • SBIR/STTR Phase II-E Selection – Scheduled to occur every two months
    • Currently selections for the SBIR/STTR Phase II-E proposals occur approximately every two months (subject to change). Proposals must be received within the timeframe identified in your contract. Proposals received prior to January 12, 2021 will be considered for the next cycle of awards.
    • Learn more: sbir.nasa.gov/content/post-phase-ii-initiatives
  • 2020 I-Corps Selection – Announced August 11, 2020

Other Opportunities

RFI: Lunar Communications Relay and Navigation Services

Responses are due Oct 30, 2020 05:00 pm EDT.

In this RFI, NASA is seeking information from potential providers of space communications relay and navigation services in support of the Artemis program and its planned missions to the Moon. The information gathered through this request will be used in planning NASA’s strategy for potential solicitations for lunar communications relay and navigation services.

Read more and respond to the RFI: https://beta.sam.gov/opp/8116f285e8d841a6a5e030c00fb7fa76/view

RFI: NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Plan

Responses are due November 13 at 5:00 PM PST.

NASA is pursuing rapid identification, development, and testing of capabilities that exploit agile spacecraft platforms and responsive launch capabilities to increase the pace of space exploration, scientific discovery, and the expansion of space commerce.

Read more and respond to the RFI: https://beta.sam.gov/opp/8bc8adb9fb234582a5a64b250a1def31/view

NASA Flight Opportunities

NASA’s Flight Opportunities program is interested in participating as a Post-Phase II investor, specifically for the use of suborbital flight testing to help advance development or commercialization of technologies. Upcoming opportunities to take advantage of Flight Opportunities matching funds include Phase II-E proposals and the next round of CCRPP applications.

Learn more: https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/flightopportunities/opportunities/sbir-sttr-post-phase2

NASA Spinoff Competition for Businesses to Engage

Minority Serving Institutions

NASA’s Minority University Research & Education Program (MUREP) Innovation and Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC) is a spinoff challenge established to develop new ideas for commercialization by seeking concept papers from multi-disciplinary student teams enrolled at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

The following are the seven NASA Intellectual Property (IP) the teams will be choosing from this year.

  1. Shape Memory Alloy Art (SMArt)
  2. Feedthrough for Severe Environments and Temperatures
  3. New Capabilities for Grasp Assisting Gloves
  4. Precision Low Speed Motor Controller
  5. Laser Surface Treatment and Spectroscopic Analysis System
  6. Hypergol Leak Detection Sensor
  7. Guided Wave-Based System for Cure Monitoring of Composites Using Piezoelectric Discs and Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs)

Priority is given to teams partnering with a large or small business. If your business is interested in partnering with a potential MITTIC team, review the list of requirements and complete the form linked here by November 1, 2020:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/D358FX3

For more information, contact hq-mittic@mail.nasa.gov or go.nasa.gov/nasamittic


Innovation & Opportunity Conference: October 20-22, 2020

The Innovation & Opportunity Virtual Conference, hosted by the NASA SBIR/STTR program, provides you with resources, engagement opportunities, and actionable next steps towards transitioning your technology – whether you are just starting your SBIR/STTR journey or ready for Phase III. Whether your destination is the Moon, Mars, or the Marketplace, let us help you get there.

Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC) Virtual Fall Meeting: October 14-15, 2020

NASA SBIR/STTR Program Executive Jenn Gustetic will present at the upcoming LSIC Virtual Fall Meeting. The event will center on the interrelationships between the six LSIC focus areas, especially in the context of surface power. We encourage any small businesses interested in working on lunar surface activities to join this consortium and their activities.

2020 NASA iTech Cycle II Forum: October 15-16, 2020

At this two-day forum, the finalists will present their solutions as they participate alongside NASA, innovators, investors, and industry leaders in a series of in-depth discussions focused on both technical and commercial potential. Video of the finalists’ presentations will be streamed online starting at 10:30 am EDT, Thursday, 10/15. NASA officials will name the top three winners of the 2020 NASA iTech Cycle II after a keynote address which will close out the virtual forum Friday, 10/16, at 4 pm EDT.

SBIR Week in the Midwest: October 19-23, 2020

Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana

NASA SBIR/STTR Deputy Program Executive Gynelle Stelle will be presenting on October 19 as a part of the “Success in Phase I - Moving to Phase II and Beyond” panel. The annual SBIR Road Tours hosted by SBA will be fully virtual this year. Our program will be participating in these SBIR Weeks—visit the SBIR Road Tour website to see the schedule and target regions. 

ASCEND: November 16-18, 2020

NASA SBIR/STTR Program Executive Jenn Gustetic will be a speaker at the virtual ASCEND conference, hosted by AIAA. Her presentation, titled “A Small Business’s Place in the Big Space Industry” is scheduled for Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 2-3 pm ET.

Please keep an eye out for future events on sbir.nasa.gov/events.

Success Stories

Read about recent news and successes from some of our SBIR/STTR firms. If you are an SBIR/STTR firm with a success story to share, email us at ARC-SBIR-Outreach@mail.nasa.gov


Swift Engineering developed a new lightweight High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) aircraft with the help of SBIR funds and in close partnership with NASA’s Ames Research Center. www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/nasa-small-business-partnership-prepares-drone-for-30-day-science-flights


Research in Flight’s FlightStream® software is used by engineers to calculate the aerodynamic performance and feasibility of aircraft concepts, particularly those with no historical performance data. The company has since gained industry recognition, with new customers and continued development with NASA. https://sbir.nasa.gov/success-stories/flightstream%C2%AE-technology-empowers-nasa-engineers-design-unconventional-aircraft


Space Lab Technologies will test their microgravity LilyPond, a hydroponic chamber for growing edible aquatic plants in space, on an upcoming flight facilitated by NASA Flight Opportunities. Space Lab began developing LilyPond in collaboration with the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2017 with funding from the NASA SBIR/STTR program.https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/features/testing-super-foods.html

Thank You for Reading!

If you have questions about the NASA SBIR/STTR Program, learn more at sbir.nasa.gov.

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