NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Eleven Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) were selected by NASA in two groups for Phase II development and funding, NASA has announced.

The projects, including several planetary observing instruments and components and a spacecraft vibration damper proposed by a Maryland firm, are part of a NASA program to stimulate new ideas and make it easier for small companies to join the NASA industrial community, helping to meet federal research and development needs.

"Our technical people really like this program," said Dr. Patricia McGuire, SBIR program manager at JPL, "because it turns up so many good new ideas and technologies." Each year, NASA funds a few hundred technical feasibility studies proposed by the small firms; from those succeeding in the first phase, as many as half are chosen for further development. All remain the intellectual property of their innovaters.

The JPL-managed SBIR projects selected for Phase II negotiations are:

* Six-Degree-of-Freedom Active Vibration Damping for Space Applications, by Intelligent Automation, Inc., Rockville, MD; * Amtec Condenser Design for Zero-G Operation, by Advanced Modular Systems, Inc., of Ann Arbor, MI;

* Fast-Repetition-Rate Fluorometer for Measuring Primary Productivity in the Oceans, by G. Miller Machine Company, Inc., Riverhead, NY;

* Spacecraft On-Board Information Extraction Computer, by Irvine Sensors Corporation, Costa Mesa, CA;

* Cold Coronagraph for Planetary Observations, by Sets Technology, Inc., located in Mililani, HI;

* Overcharge Protection Additives for Rechargeable Lithium Batteries, by Covalent Associates, Inc., Woburn, MA;

* Intelligent Robot/Sensor Operations Planning Systems, by Cybernet Systems Corporation, Ann Arbor, MI;

* Optical Components and Design Tools--Cryogenic Telescopes, by OCA Applied Optics, Inc., of Garden Grove, CA;

* Universal Helium Magnetometer for Space, by Polatomic, Inc., Richardson, TX;

* Strained Type II Superlattice Infrared Detectors, by Superior Vacuum Technology, Eden Prairie, MN;

* New Concepts for HgI2 Scintillator Gamma Ray Spectroscopy, by Xsirius, Inc., Marina Del Rey, CA.

Funding for each Phase II contract can be as much as $500,000, for a period of performance of up to 2 years. After Phase II, the technological innovations are expected to be able to compete on merit for government or commercial applications; they have been selected in the first place for their applicability to NASA's technical needs.

Five other JPL-managed SBIR projects were selected for Phase II development in December 1991; NASA selected a total of 137 projects, to be managed by nine NASA centers for NASA's Office of Commercial Programs in Washington, DC, for negotiation of development contracts.

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