NASA Selects 26 CubeSat-Related Projects for SBIR & STTR Phase I Awards

Many of the CubeSats and nanosats flown to date have been fairly simple spacecraft, without much ability to maneuver, perform complex tasks, or travel beyond low Earth orbit. NASA is looking to change that situation. The space agency recently selected 26 projects relating to CubeSats and nanosats for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I programs. The awards will fund a wide range of research projects, include the development of propulsion technology, solar power generators, improved scientific instrumentation, and dedicated launch vehicles. In some cases , new technologies that are scalable to larger spacecraft will be tested on CubeSats. Nine of the projects were chosen specifically to advance technologies needed to send CubeSats to explore the moon and other deep space destinations. This has the potential to significantly change the way deep space exploration is conducted. Instead of one giant spacecraft, imagine being able to send out a fleet of extremely small ones that are none-the-less high capable. College or even high school students might be able to explore other worlds. A number of the companies selected for funding will be familiar to Parabolic Arc’s readers. These include Jon Goff’s Altius Space Machines, Planetary Resources, Garvey Spacecraft Corporation, OBITEC, Ventions LLC and Terminal Velocity Aerospace. The 26 awards are for six months and up to $125,000 apiece. NASA is investing as much as $3.25 million in this round of the programs on CubeSats and nanosats projects.

NASA 2014 SBIR Select Phase I Deep Space CubeSat Technology Projects
Company Location Research Project
Aether Industries LLC Ann Arbor, MI CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster for LEO and Deep Space Missions
Altius Space Machines, Inc. Louisville, CO Multi-Purpose Interplanetary Deployable Aerocapture System (MIDAS)
ASTER Labs, Inc. Shoreview, MN Deep Space CubeSat Gamma-ray Navigation Technology Demonstration
Busek Company, Inc. Natick, MA LunarCube for Deep Space Missions
ExoTerra Resource, LLC Lone Tree, CO Solar Electric Propulsion CubeSat Bus for Deep Space Missions
Fibertek, Inc. Herndon, VA 1U CubeSat Lasercom Terminal for Deep Space Communication
Innoflight, Inc. San Diego, CA Deep Space Cubesat Regenerative Ranging Transponder (DeSCReeT)
MicroLink Devices, Inc. Niles, IL High Power Betavoltaic Technology
Nanohmics, Inc. Austin, TX Deployable Solar Energy Generators for Deep Space Cubesats
NASA 2014 STTR Phase I CubeSat and Nanosat Projects
Company Locations Research Project
Garvey Spacecraft Corporation & University of California, San Diego Long Beach, CA & La Jolla, CA The Application of 3D Additive Machining to Enhance the Affordability of a Small Launcher Booster Stage
Orbital Technologies Corporation & Pennsylvania State University Madison, WI & University Park, PA High Performance Nanolauncher
NASA 2014 SBIR Phase I CubeSat and Nanosat Projects
Company Location Research Project
Black Forest Engineering, LLC Colorado Springs, CO Development of a Radiation Hardened CZT Sensor Array and 1U CubeSat Flight Test
Digital Solid State Propulsion, Inc. Reno, NV A Green, Safe, Dual-Pulse Solid Motor for CubeSat Orbit Changing
MMA Design, LLC Boulder, CO Precision Mobile-Joint and Latching Technologies for Deployable Optical Systems
MSNW, LLC Redmond, WA ISS Launched Cubesat Demonstration of Variable-Drag Magnetoshell Aerocapture
Nanohmics, Inc. Austin, TX Improved Hyperspectral Imaging Technologies
Orbital Technologies Corporation Madison, WI Miniature Nontoxic Nitrous Oxide-Propane (MINNOP) Propulsion
Physical Sciences, Inc. Andover, MA Optical Precision Deployment Latch
Planetary Resources Development Corporation Bellevue, WA The Compact Hyperspectral Aberration-Corrected Platform (CHAP), an Instrument for Microspacecraft
Planetary Resources Development Corporation Bellevue, WA Integrated Propulsion and Primary Structure Module for Small Satellite and CubeSat Applications
QorTek, Inc. Williamsport, PA Ultraprecision Pointing Accuracy for SmallSat/CubeSat Attitude Control Systems
Systems & Processes Engineering Corporation Austin, TX HD6D LIDAR for High Speed Descent Mapping
Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC Atlanta, GA Low-Cost Small Payload Return to Enable High Frequency ISS Research
VectorSum, Inc. Irvine, CA Flexible Automation for Final Assembly of Blanket Arrays
Ventions, LLC San Francisco, CA Low-Cost and High-Performance Propulsion for Small Satellite Applications
Virginia Diodes, Inc. Charlottesville, VA Integrated Receivers for NASA Radiometers

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