Through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, NASA is planning to inject $51 million into 312 small businesses across the United States. Several of those companies are located in Arkansas.
NASA announced that four Arkansas companies have been chosen for Phase I of the SBIR project selection process. Part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, the SBIR program is designed to stimulate innovation and encourages companies to develop ideas that will “meet the government specific research and development needs with the potential for commercialization,” according to the agency’s website.
All four of the companies are located in Northwest Arkansas’ Washington County. Three of the companies are based in Fayetteville, while one is located in Elkins, a small town approximately 13 miles southeast of Fayetteville.
The companies include: CatalyzeH20, Nanomatronix, Ozark Integrated Circuits and WattGlass.
CatalyzeH20 has submitted a proposal for a engineered peptoid sensor microbial monitoring in spacecraft cabins. Nanomatronix’ proposal is for “efficient neuromorphic processor design for autonomous space operation,” while Ozark Integrated Circuit submitted a proposal for “high fidelity analog integration techniques for Venus surface data acquisition. WattGlass’s proposal is for solar array coatings designed to reduce or mitigate the impact of lunar and/or Martian dust.
“NASA depends on America’s small businesses for innovative technology development that helps us achieve our wide variety of missions,” Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a statement. “Whether we’re landing Artemis astronauts on the Moon, sending rovers to Mars, or developing next-generation aircraft our small business partners play an important role.”
Companies selected for Phase I will receive $125,000, which will be used to test the feasibility of their innovations. The Phase I contracts for SBIR are for six months.
Following the six-month contact, the companies submit proposal for additional SBIR or STTR opportunities and receive more funding. According a news release, NASA is planning to award multiple Phase II contacts that will be related to Moon exploration, the Artemis program and the Moon to Mars initiative.