NASA 2018 STTR Program Phase II Selections - Press Release

 November 21, 2019

NASA Awards $15.75 Million to US Small Businesses for Continued Research, Development

Twenty-one American small businesses will assist in research relevant to NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach as well as other needs across the agency. The technology development could also bring about Earth-based applications.

The Phase II awards are part of NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The research and technology proposals, collectively valued at $15.75 million, will be completed through partnerships between the selected small businesses and U.S. research institutions-a requirement of STTR.

"To date, NASA’s STTR program has awarded close to $300 million to deserving small businesses and research institutions across the country," said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. "With continued investment, NASA is enabling companies to pursue and develop innovative ideas that meet technology needs of the federal government."

The selected proposals will advance capabilities in the areas of aeronautics, science, human exploration and operations, and space technology. Researchers will study new technologies for lunar landers, food production, small spacecraft and more.

  • An Advanced Hot Reservoir Variable Conductance Heat Pipes for Planetary Landers: For successful thermal management on the Moon, this technology creates a hot reservoir variable conductance heat pipe to operate for prolonged periods, maintain constant payload temperature and turn off during the lunar night.
  • A Robust Biofilm-Biomat Reactor for Conversion of Mission-Relevant Feedstocks to Products: A simple and robust bioreactor system to enable rapid microbial growth. This technology generates high-protein biomass for a variety of applications including nutritious foods. It could be used in space as well as on Earth where protein-rich food is needed, such as places impacted by natural disasters and during military operations.
  • SmallSat Swarm Sparse Aperture SAR for Recon and Surveillance: Algorithms for coordinating and controlling swarms of small satellites in low-Earth orbit and deep space. These algorithms could also be used to manage low-altitude air traffic of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones. 

The proposals were selected according to their technical merit and feasibility, in addition to the experience, qualifications and facilities of the submitting organization. Additional criteria included effectiveness of the work plan and commercial potential. 

Only small businesses awarded Phase I STTR contracts are eligible to submit a proposal for a Phase II funding agreement. Phase II is focused on the development, demonstration and delivery of the innovation. Phase II projects are chosen as a result of competitive evaluations and based on selection criteria provided in the solicitation. Phase II contracts last for 24 months with maximum funding of $750,000.

STTR stimulates technological innovation in the private sector, increases the commercial application of research results, encourages participation of socially and economically disadvantaged persons and women-owned small businesses, and fosters technology transfer through cooperative research and development between small businesses and research institutions.

The STTR program is sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and managed at NASA's Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Small business innovations supported by both the STTR and Small Business Innovation Research programs could contribute to Artemis, helping to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, establish a sustainable presence on the lunar surface by 2028, and prepare for the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

For more information about NASA's investments in space technology, visit: