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Small Business Saturday: Space Edition!

Small Business Saturday: Space Edition!

Today is Small Business Saturday, an annual campaign that American Express started back in 2010 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to support “local places that make our communities strong.”

The U.S. Senate has even taken note by passing a bipartisan resolution recognizing November 25, 2017 as Small Business Saturday: “an opportunity for all Americans to rally behind these local, independently-owned businesses and support the entrepreneurs who keep our families employed.”

Here at NASA, we look to promote and integrate small businesses across the country into the work we do to pioneer the future of space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.

Our Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program seeks to fund the research, development and demonstration of innovative technologies that help address space exploration challenges and have significant potential for commercialization. In fiscal year 2017, our program awarded 567 contracts to 277 small businesses and 44 research institutions for a total of $173.5M that will enable our future missions into deep space and advancements in aviation and science, while also benefiting the U.S. economy. This year, the SBIR/STTR program’s Economic Impact Report indicated a $2.74 return for every dollar spent on awards—money well spent!

Our small business partners’ ideas have helped our work become more efficient and have advanced scientific knowledge on the International Space Station. Over 800 small businesses are contributing to the development of our Space Launch System rocket that will carry humans to deep space. SBIR/STTR program awardees are also helping the Curiosity Rover get around Mars and are even preparing the Mars 2020 Rover to search for signs of potential life on the Red Planet.


Small businesses are also contributing to scientific advances here on Earth like helping our satellites get a clearer picture of soil moisture in order to support water management, agriculture, and fire, flood and drought hazard monitoring.


In an effort to improve our understanding of the Arctic and Antarctica, a small business developed a cost-saving unmanned aircraft system that could withstand some of the coldest temperatures on the planet.


Does your small business have a big idea? Your next opportunity to join the SBIR/STTR program starts on January 11, 2018 when our latest solicitation opens. 

We’ll be seeking new ideas from small businesses and research institutions for research, development and demonstration of innovative technologies. Go to to learn more.

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