NASA has recently announced the beneficiaries of its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. This program determines small research projects from outside of NASA that are relevant to its own interests. The 19 projects that have been chosen will be awarded a total in excess of $14 million.

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These 19 projects were selected from a pool of 56 announced a year ago. At that time, the companies and institutions selected received up to $125,000 to work on their proposals and report their progress to NASA. The 19 that made it through this year will get funds of up to $750,000 to continue their work.

Invested Companies & Organizations

Companies in this phase offer projects that are highly diverse and innovative. The fields touched upon with these projects include:

  • Aeronautics – Balcones Technologies, LLC. with University of Texas Center for Electromechanics
  • Ground and Launch Systems Processing – Angstrom Designs, Inc. with University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Materials, Structure, Mechanical Systems, and Manufacturing – Cornerstone Research Group, Inc. with the University of Dayton, Nanosonic, Inc. with Virginia Tech, and Universal Technology Corporation with University of Louisville Research Foundation, Inc.
  • Modeling, Simulation, Information Technology, and Processing – Otherlab, Inc. with Yale University, and TRACLabs, Inc. with Carnegie Mellon University, Silicon Valley
  • Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems – Fibertek, Inc. with Pennsylvania State University
  • Science Instruments, Observatories, and Sensor Systems – Applied Research, LLC. with University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Freedom Photonics, LLC with University of California, Santa Barbara, and Nanohmics, Inc. with University of Maryland
  • Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems – Mango Materials with Colorado School of Mines, Paragon Space Development Corporation with Texas Tech University, and STF Technologies, LLC with University of Delaware
  • Robotics, Tele-Robotics, and Autonomous Systems – ASTER Labs, Inc. with The Regents of the University of Minnesota and Linked, Inc. with University of California, Los Angeles
  • Space Power and Energy Storage – Gloyer-Taylor Laboratories, LLC with University of Tennessee
  • Launch Propulsion Systems – CFD Research Corporation with Mississippi State University

These companies will have two years to prove themselves, after which they will have access to the Post Phase II Initiatives and Opportunities.

Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky}

“We are looking forward to leveraging the expertise, creativity, and innovation of entrepreneurial small businesses and research institutions to further advance NASA's missions, while simultaneously fueling the economy,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters.

These programs were chosen because of feasibility and technical merit, as well as qualifications, experience, and facilities of the organization submitting their project. Attention was also paid to commercial potential and effectiveness of the project’s work plan.


The STTR program is managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center, located in California’s Silicon Valley. NASA also offers a program called the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program that encourages small businesses in the United States to engage in Federal Research and Development. The program works to allow qualified small businesses a chance into the development arena where high-tech innovation may be stimulated. The requirements for the two programs differ in that those for the STTR program must do at least 40% of work by the small business, and 30% by the partner institution.