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NASA Selects Over 100 Small Business Projects to Advance Space Innovation

NASA has selected 133 proposals from U.S. companies to conduct research and develop technologies that will enable NASA’s future missions into deep space and benefit the U.S. economy. These include four projects tied to Stennis Space Center.

The proposals, valued at approximately $100 million total for contract negotiations, were selected under Phase II of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

“We are pleased to select SBIR proposals from over 112 small businesses,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Technology drives exploration, and selection of these projects represents an investment in achieving our space exploration goals and supporting the U.S. innovation economy, as well.”

SBIR Phase II projects will expand on the results of recently-completed Phase I projects. Phase I projects received six-month contracts of as much as $125,000. Phase II contracts are awarded up to $750,000 and the period of performance is no more than two years. Successful Phase II projects may go on to Phase III of the program – commercialization of the innovation.

The proposals were selected according to their technical merit and feasibility, in addition to the experience, qualifications and facilities of the companies, and their work plans and commercial potential. The fundamental requirement, however, is that the proposals answer needs that are core to the agency’s future exploration goals, such as:

Multifunctional, lightweight metallic materials that can be used to create the advanced structures needed for future deep space missions and next-generation aeronautics capabilities;

Compact, high-powered 3-D LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) system for unmanned aircraft that significantly reduces the size and weight of object-detection sensors, with applications ranging from autonomous aircraft to space missions;

A technology that integrates a plastic recycling system, a dry-heat sterilization system and a 3-D printer to create materials that can be used to print food- and medical-grade devices, lowering mission costs and trash generated on long-duration manned missions;

A technology that will allow constellations of individual satellites to fly in precise formation and perform coordinated science, enabling new capabilities such as autonomous rendezvous and docking, and precision formation flying both for human and robotic exploration missions.

The four selected proposals being monitored by Stennis Space Center have a combined value of about $3 million in critical technology development for propulsion test activities over the next two years. They are:

“Color-XHDR – A Compact High-Speed Color Extreme High Dynamic Range Video Capability for Rocket Engine Testing,” developed by Innovative Imaging and Research Corp. (I2R), a small, woman-owned business located at Stennis Space Center.

“Plume Velocimetry Diagnostic for Large Rocket Engines,” developed by MetroLaser Inc. of Lagune Hills, California.

“Robust Cryogenic Cavitation Modeling for Propulsion Systems Ground Test Facilities,” developed by Tetra Research Corp. of Princeton, Illinois.

“Accident Tolerant Reactor Shutdown for NTP (Nuclear Thermal Propulsion) Systems,” developed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. of Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The Color-XHDR project already has garnered particular interest. It has its roots in a NASA High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS-X) project that was highlighted during a booster test for NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket last summer. The project developed a revolutionary, high-speed, high dynamic range camera that could be used to record test plumes in greater definition and detail. Comparison photos of the test – with and without the camera – went viral with more than 1.4 million hits once released and posted online. (View online at: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/revolutionary-camera-recording-propulsion-data-completes-groundbreaking-test)

The HiDyRS-X project began as part of NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Early Career Initiative (ECI), designed to give young engineers the opportunity to lead projects and develop hardware alongside leading innovators from industry who provided guidance in both the technology and the use of Agile processes to improve efficiency and speed in technology development activities. The Agile industry partner for the Stennis ECI project was I2R.

After initial proof of concept and a preliminary design review, the HiDyRS-X project was placed within NASA’s Game Changing Development program to complete its first prototype. Created in partnership with I2R, the project was tested on small rocket nozzle plumes at Stennis before being used for the Qualification Motor 2 (QM-2) test last summer. The QM-2 test was the second and final booster test before the first test flight of NASA’s new SLS rocket.

The new SBIR award will enable I2R to develop a new video system with greatly enhanced features such as color and real time/near real time processing, with improved manufacturability, that will further the efforts initiated by the ECI project for both NASA and commercial use.

NASA’s SBIR program is a competitive, awards-based program that encourages U.S. small businesses to engage in federal research, development and commercialization. The program allows businesses to explore technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from new commercial products and services. Small businesses create about two out of every three jobs in the United States each year, and about half the workforce either own or work for a small business.

The SBIR program is managed for STMD by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. STMD is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

For more information about the Small Business Innovation Research program, visit:
http://sbir.nasa.gov

For more information about Stennis Space Center, visit:
www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis/

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Patrice, wife of Greg Boykin & mother of two sons, Bradley & Alex, is a Magee hometown girl. Patrice retired after 25 years in the Insurance industry and 23 of those years were with State Farm Insurance in Magee. She is very active in the community where she served as Secretary for the Magee Touchdown Club for 18 years and President of the MS Scholars of Simpson County. She was elected to a term on the Simpson County School Board. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Magee Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the Keep Magee Beautiful Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Simpson County Technical Center. Multiple times, Patrice was named Parent of the Year for Magee Schools as well as District Parent of the Year. Patrice & her family are members of New Hope Baptist Church.

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