NASA funds small research projects
NASA awards $14.3m to 19 small research projectsREUTERS/Carlos Barria

Under the second phase of its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, Nasa has awarded $14.3m (£10.8m) to as many as 19 small businesses and research institutions working on projects covering a variety of fields such as aeronautics, science, human exploration and operations, and space technology.

Launched in 2016, Nasa's STTR program solicits and funds small scale projects for the development of innovative technologies to aid its future deep space missions as well as the US economy. As noted by the agency in an official release, "The program stimulates partnerships between small businesses and research institutions by providing awards for cooperative research and development efforts with potential for commercialization".

Coming from an initial pool of 56 in "Phase I", the businesses shortlisted for "Phase II" are working on projects such as, Modular Embedded Intelligent Sensor Network, Image Processing Algorithms for Mastcam Imagers, Soft Robotic Manipulators, Unified In-Space Propulsion Framework, Ultra-Compact Transmitter, Space-Compatible Bioreactor, and Active Radiation Shield.

The agency selected these projects considering their technical merit and feasibility, and experience, qualifications, and facilities of the submitting organization. Among other things, it also considered the effectiveness of the work plan and its commercial application. You can read about the selected 19 projects on Nasa's official website.

"We are looking forward to leveraging the expertise, creativity, and innovation of these communities to further advance NASA's missions, while simultaneously fueling the entrepreneurial small businesses and research institutions to further advance NASA's missions, while simultaneously fueling the economy," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at Nasa.

Nasa's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley manages the STTR program for STMD, which is responsible developing innovating and cutting edge technologies for agency's future missions.