NASA News: Maturing Technology: NASA Selects 85 Small Business Research And Technology Projects For Continued Development


WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected 85 small business proposals to enter
into negotiations for Phase II contract awards through the agency's
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

The selected projects have a total value of approximately $63 million.
NASA will award the contracts to 79 small high technology firms in 27
states. These competitive awards-based programs encourage U.S. small
businesses to engage in federal research, development and
commercialization. The programs also enable businesses to explore
technological potential, while providing the incentive to profit from
new commercial products and services.

"Small businesses are not only crucial to NASA's trailblazing
achievements in space exploration; they are the backbone of the
American economy," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden." As the
wheels of our economy continue to pick up speed, it is important to
remember that small business is the engine that is getting us moving
again. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small
firms have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17
years. And federal procurement for women-, minority- and
veteran-owned small businesses are a big part of that equation."

NASA's SBIR programs address specific technology gaps in agency
missions, while striving to complement other agency research
investments. Program results have benefited many NASA efforts,
including modern air traffic control systems, Earth-observing
spacecraft, the International Space Station and the Mars rovers.

"Working with small businesses through Phase 2 SBIR awards, NASA helps
mature novel technologies and concepts to demonstrate their
applicability to NASA's current and future space and aeronautics
needs," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology
Program. "This maturation process also provides NASA's small business
partners to more fully explore opportunities to transfer that
technology to the marketplace, while creating new jobs and growing
our economy."

In addition to meeting NASA's needs, the proposals also provide
innovative research in areas that have other commercial applications.
Examples include:

-- Development of design and fabrication techniques that will be used
to create better UV detectors useful to NASA's missions to monitor
ozone, aerosols and air pollution, which also are essential in the
semiconductor, food processing and healthcare industries, where
bacterial sterilization is important.
-- A new composite material manufacturing process which could decrease
manufacturing costs for NASA's future heavy lift launch vehicles, as
well as military and commercial aircraft, wind blades and towers,
civil and automotive infrastructure and marine vessels.
-- New high-performance lubricants beneficial to robotic spacecraft
operations in extreme temperature ranges that also may benefit
automobile performance
-- A laser-ranging technology that can be used as the next generation
air data system for aircraft that will measure velocity, wind speed,
air pressure and temperature. This will help predict turbulence,
ensuring a safer and more comfortable flight.

The SBIR program is a highly competitive, three-phase award system. It
provides qualified small businesses, including those owned by women
and the disadvantaged, with opportunities to propose unique ideas
that meet specific research and development needs of the federal government.

Phase 1 is a feasibility study to evaluate the scientific and
technical merit of an idea. Awards are for as long as six months. The
selected Phase 2 projects will expand on the results of Phase 1
projects selected last year, with up to $750,000 to support research
for up to two years. Phase 3 is for the commercialization of the
results of Phase 2 and requires the use of private sector or non-SBIR
federal funding.

Participants submitted 428 Phase 2 proposals. The criteria used to
select the winning proposals included technical merit and innovation,
Phase 1 performance and results, value to NASA, commercial potential
and company capabilities.

NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SBIR
program for the agency's Space Technology Program. NASA's 10 field
centers manage individual projects.

For a complete list of selected companies, visit:


For more information about NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist and
the agency's Space Technology Program, visit:



Station Crew Set To Launch To A New Home For The Holidays

HOUSTON -- Just in time for the holidays, the residents of the
International Space Station will welcome three new crew members.
NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit, Russian Soyuz Commander Oleg
Kononenko and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers of
the Netherlands are set to launch in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft
from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:16 a.m. CST on
Wednesday, Dec. 21 (7:16 p.m. local time).

NASA Television will air video of prelaunch activities at 5:45 a.m.
and provide live coverage of the launch beginning at 6:30 a.m.
On Friday, Dec. 23, the trio will dock to the Rassvet module of the
station at 9:22 a.m. The new crew will join station Commander Dan
Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and
Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been aboard the orbital laboratory since
mid-November. NASA TV will provide live coverage beginning at 8:45
a.m. Hatch opening and the holiday welcoming ceremony will occur
about three hours later.

Burbank has discussed what it will be like to spend the holidays in
his home away from home, 240 miles above the Earth. Video is
available online at:


Space station sighting opportunities are available across the United
States this week, mostly in the northern third of North America,
including Alaska. To find sighting details by city, visit:


NASA TV's scheduled coverage for launch includes (all times Central):

Wednesday, Dec. 21
5:45 a.m. -- Video file feed of the crew prelaunch launch day
activities in Baikonur
6:30 a.m. -- Launch coverage (launch at 7:16 a.m.), including launch
9:30 a.m. -- Video file of prelaunch and launch video b-roll and
postlaunch interviews
Friday, Dec. 23
8:45 a.m. -- Docking coverage (docking at 9:22 a.m.) followed by the
post-docking news conference from Mission Control in Korolev, Russia
11:45 a.m. -- Hatch opening and welcoming ceremony (hatch opening
scheduled at 12:20 p.m.)
2 p.m. -- Video file of docking, hatch opening and welcoming ceremony

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:


For International Space Station information, visit:



NASA's Kepler Announcing Newly Confirmed Planets

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a news teleconference at 1 p.m. EST,
Tuesday, Dec. 20, announcing new discoveries by the Kepler mission.

Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets
in or near the "habitable zone," the region in a planetary system
where liquid water can exist on the surface of an orbiting planet.
Although additional observations will be needed to reach that
milestone, Kepler is detecting planets and possible candidates with a
wide range of sizes and orbital distances to help scientists better
understand our place in the galaxy.

The briefing participants are:

-- Nick Gautier, Kepler project scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.
-- Francois Fressin, lead author, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.
-- David Charbonneau, professor of astronomy, Harvard University
-- Linda Elkins-Tanton, director of the Carnegie Institution for
Science's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington.

For dial-in information, media representatives should e-mail their
name, affiliation and telephone number to Trent Perrotto at:

For live audio of the teleconference, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett
Field, Calif., manages Kepler's ground system development, mission
operations and science data analysis. JPL managed the Kepler
mission's development.

Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the
Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of
Colorado in Boulder.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and
distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery
Mission and is funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the
agency's headquarters in Washington.

For information about the Kepler Mission, visit:



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