NASA Turns to Small Businesses for Advances in Space Travel

Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
2 min read

NASA is turning to entrepreneurs across the country to help further its exploration of deep space. The agency has chosen 137 research and technology proposals from 117 companies as part of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

Altogether, these proposals, which were selected from a pool of 323 submitted over the past year, represent contracts valued at more than $100 million.

Related: International Space Station Crew Returns Home Today. See Photos of Their Year in Space

To cull the applications, NASA looked at a number of factors including the experience and qualifications of each small business and their idea’s feasibility and commercial potential.

Selected projects include software that powers unmanned aircraft systems, low-cost 3-D printing technology, tools that measure and identify exoplanets and sensors that help make launch sites safer.  

Related: Report: Space Projects Lured $1.8 Billion in Venture Capital Last Year

While NASA’s ultimate mission is to explore space, the program has the immediate benefit of helping small businesses back on earth.

"These proposals represent the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses that fuel our economy and create jobs on Main Street," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate. "The dollar value of these innovation projects represents an investment in the American economy."

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.