Small businesses in the United States are poised to take space technology to the next level thanks to a massive $45 million investment from NASA. The investment comes after a new initiative from NASA called Moon to Mars, which is geared toward establishing a permanent lunar presence.
Over 300 small business applications have been accepted by NASA as part of the initiative to revamp space exploration technologies. The investment is designed to boost research and development initiatives for these innovative small businesses.
When talking about the program, the associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate Jim Reuter said, “We are excited about the entrepreneurial, innovative ideas that these small businesses are bringing to the table. The technologies show great promise in helping NASA achieve its objectives across all mission areas, including our efforts to send American astronauts to the Moon, and then on to Mars, while also providing a long-term boost to the American economy.”
The proposals that were selected come from a wide range of diverse businesses across the country, all supporting advanced space exploration technologies. The funds will help develop technology such as advanced space rovers, high-end solar panels that are lightweight and maximize solar energy capture, and unmanned aircraft advancements.
The candidate pool was very competitive and the selected businesses were chosen based on the merit of the company, the potential for the proposal, and the facilities that each business has access to in order to develop new technologies.
As part of the program, NASA specifically focused on women-owned businesses and businesses that are minority-owned. The funds are targeted to allow these innovations to happen within the next five years, with the goal of sending manned spacecraft to the moon in that time. NASA’s investments are also designed to spur economic growth in disadvantaged areas.