NASA SBIR/STTR Program Solicitation Details | 1. Program Description

1. Program Description

1.1 Introduction

This document includes two NASA program solicitations with separate research areas under which small business concerns (SBCs) are invited to submit proposals: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. Program background information, eligibility requirements for participants, the three program phases, and information for submitting responsive proposals is contained herein. The 2010 Solicitation period for Phase I proposals begins July 19, 2010, and ends September 2, 2010.

The purposes of the SBIR/STTR programs, as established by law, are to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector; to strengthen the role of SBCs in meeting Federal research and development needs; to increase the commercial application of these research results; and to encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged persons and women-owned small businesses.

Technological innovation is vital to the performance of the NASA mission and to the Nation's prosperity and security. To be eligible for selection, a proposal must present an innovation that meets the technology needs of existing NASA programs and projects as described herein and has significant potential for successful commercialization. Commercialization encompasses the transition of technology into products and services for NASA mission programs, other Government agencies and non-Government markets.

NASA considers every technology development investment dollar critical to the ultimate success of NASA's mission and strives to ensure that the research topic areas described in this solicitation are in alignment with its Mission Directorate high priorities technology needs. In addition, the solicitation is structured such that SBIR/STTR investments are complementary to other NASA technology investments. NASA'S ultimate objective is to achieve infusion of the technological innovations developed in the SBIR/STTR program into its Mission Directorates programs and projects.

The NASA SBIR/STTR programs do not accept proposals solely directed towards system studies, market research, routine engineering development of existing products or proven concepts and modifications of existing products without substantive innovation.

Subject to the availability of funds, approximately 300 SBIR and 30 STTR Phase I proposals will be selected for negotiation of fixed-price contracts in November 2010. Historically, the ratio of Phase I proposals to awards is approximately 6:1 for SBIR and STTR, and approximately 45% of the selected Phase I contracts are selected for Phase II follow-on efforts.

NASA will not accept more than 10 proposals to either program from any one company in order to ensure the broadest participation of the small business community. NASA does not plan to award more than 5 SBIR contracts and 2 STTR contracts to any offeror.

Proposals must be submitted via the Internet at and include all relevant documentation. Unsolicited proposals will not be accepted.

1.2 Program Authority and Executive Order

SBIR and STTR opportunities are solicited annually pursuant to the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-219), Small Business Innovation Research Program Reauthorization Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-554), the Small Business Research and Development Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-564), the Small Business Technology Transfer Program Reauthorization Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-50) as most recently amended by Public Law 111-162 extending authorization of both programs to July 31, 2010.  A new authorization or extension (continuing resolution) is anticipated prior to this end date.

Executive Order: This Solicitation complies with Executive Order 13329 (issued February 26, 2004) directing Federal agencies that administer the SBIR and STTR programs to encourage innovation in manufacturing related research and development consistent with the objectives of each agency and to the extent permitted by law.

On February 26, 2004, the President issued Executive Order 13329 (69 FR 9181) entitled "Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing." In response to this Executive Order, NASA encourages the submission of applications that deal with some aspect of innovative manufacturing technology. If a proposal has a connection to manufacturing this should be indicated in the Part 5 of the proposal (Related R/R&D) and a brief explanation of how it is related to manufacturing should be provided.

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 1203, stated that federal agencies give shall give high priority to small business concerns that participate in or conduct energy efficiency or renewable energy system research and development projects. If a proposal has a connection to energy efficiency or alternative and renewable energy this should be indicated in Part 5 of the proposal (Related R/R&D) and a brief explanation of how it is related to energy efficiency and alternative and renewable energy should be provided.

1.3 Program Management

The Innovative Partnerships Program Office under the Office of the NASA Associate Administrator currently provides overall policy direction for implementation of the NASA SBIR/STTR programs. This management function is being transitioned to the newly established Office of the Chief Technologist. The transition will be completed in fiscal year 2011. The NASA SBIR/STTR Program Management Office, which operates the programs in conjunction with NASA Mission Directorates and Centers, is hosted at the NASA Ames Research Center. NASA Shared Services Center provides the overall procurement management for the programs. All of the NASA Centers actively participate in the SBIR/STTR program; and to reinforce NASA's objective of infusion of SBIR/STTR developed technologies into its programs and projects, each Center has personnel focused on that activity.

NASA research and technology areas to be solicited are identified annually by Mission Directorates. The Directorates identify high priority research and technology needs for their respective programs and projects. The needs are explicitly described in the topics and subtopics descriptions developed by technical experts at NASA's Centers. The range of technologies is broad, and the list of topics and subtopics may vary in content from year to year. See section 9.1 for details of Mission Directorate research topic descriptions.

The STTR Program Solicitation is aligned with needs associated with the core competencies of the NASA Centers as described in Section 9.2.

Information regarding the Mission Directorates and the NASA Centers can be obtained at the following web sites:

NASA Mission Directorates
Aeronautics Research
Exploration Systems
Space Operations


NASA Centers
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC)
Glenn Research Center (GRC)
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
Langley Research Center (LaRC)
Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
Stennis Space Center (SSC)

1.4 Three-Phase Program

Both the SBIR and STTR programs are divided into three funding and development stages.

1.4.1 Phase I

The purpose of Phase I is to determine the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation, and the quality of the SBC's performance. Phase I work and results should provide a sound basis for the continued development, demonstration and delivery of the proposed innovation in Phase II and follow-on efforts. Successful completion of Phase I objectives is a prerequisite to consideration for a Phase II award.

Proposals must conform to the format described in Section 3.2. Evaluation and selection criteria are described in Section 4.1. NASA is solely responsible for determining the relative merit of proposals, their selection for award, and judging the value of Phase I results.

Maximum value and period of performance for Phase I contracts:

Phase I Contracts
Maximum Contract Value
$ 100,000
$ 100,000
Period of Performance
6 months
12 months

1.4.2 Phase II

The purpose of Phase II is the development, demonstration and delivery of the innovation. Only SBCs awarded Phase I contracts are eligible for Phase II funding agreements. Phase II projects are chosen as a result of competitive evaluations based on selection criteria provided in Section 4.2.

Maximum value and period of performance for Phase II contracts:

Phase II Contracts
Maximum Contract Value
$ 750,000
$ 750,000
Period of Performance*
24 months
24 months

* Nominal period of performance is 24 months. If your period of performance is less than 18 months, you may not be eligible for a Phase II Enhancement as described below.

Phase II Enhancement: The objective of the Phase II-E Option is an incentive to Phase III awards through providing cost share extension of the R&D efforts to the current Phase II contract, to meet the product/process/software requirements of a NASA program/project or third party investor to accelerate and/or enhance the infusion/commercial potential of the Phase II project. Under this option, NASA will match with SBIR/STTR funds up to $150,000 of non-SBIR/non-STTR investment from a NASA project, NASA contractor, or third party commercial investor to extend an existing Phase II project for up to 4 months to perform additional research.The total cumulative award for the Phase II contract plus the Phase II-E match is not expected to exceed $900,000.00 of SBIR/STTR funding. The non-SBIR or non-STTR contribution is not limited since it is regulated under the guidelines for Phase III award.

Regarding active Phase II awards only, NASA may enter into negotiations with awardees to create an option for "Phase II Enhancement" (Phase II-E) that will encourage transition of SBIR/STTR projects into NASA programs and projects. Additional details, including how to apply for the Phase II enhancement, will be provided no later than the 12th month of the performance of the Phase II contract. Application packages will not be accepted before the 15th month of the Phase II contract from selected awardees for a potential Phase II award but no later than the end of the 22nd month of the award.

1.4.3 Phase III

NASA may award Phase III contracts for products or services with non-SBIR/STTR funds. The competition for SBIR/STTR Phase I and Phase II awards satisfies any competition requirement of the Armed Services Procurement Act, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, and the Competition in Contracting Act. Therefore, an agency that wishes to fund a Phase III project is not required to conduct another competition in order to satisfy those statutory provisions. Phase III work may be for products, production, services, R/R&D, or any combination thereof that is derived from, extends, or logically concludes efforts performed under prior SBIR funding agreements. A Federal agency may enter into a Phase III agreement at any time with a Phase I or Phase II awardee.

There is no limit on the number, duration, type, or dollar value of Phase III awards made to a business concern. There is no limit on the time that may elapse between a Phase I or Phase II and a Phase III award. The small business size limits for Phase I and Phase II awards do not apply to Phase III awards.

1.5 Eligibility Requirements

1.5.1 Small Business Concern

Only firms qualifying as SBCs, as defined in Section 2.18, are eligible to participate in these programs. Socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned SBCs are particularly encouraged to propose.

STTR: SBCs shall submit a cooperative research agreement with a Research Institution (RI).

1.5.2 Place of Performance

For both Phase I and Phase II, the R/R&D must be performed in the United States (Section 2.23). However, based on a rare and unique circumstance (for example, if a supply or material or other item or project requirement is not available in the United States), NASA may allow a particular portion of the research or R&D work to be performed or obtained in a country outside of the United States. Proposals must clearly indicate if any work will be performed outside the United States. Prior to award, approval by the Contracting Officer for such specific condition(s) must be in writing.

1.5.3 Principal Investigator

The primary employment of the Principal Investigator (PI) must be with the SBC under the SBIR Program, while under the STTR Program the PI may be employed by either the SBC or RI. Primary employment means that more than half of the PI's total employed time (including all concurrent employers, consulting, and self-employed time) is spent with the SBC. Primary employment with a small business concern precludes full-time employment at another organization. If the PI does not currently meet these primary employment requirements, the offeror must explain how these requirements will be met if the proposal is selected for contract negotiations that may lead to an award. Co-PI's are not permitted.

Primary Employment
PI must be with the SBC
PI must be employed with the RI or SBC
The offeror must certify in the proposal that the primary employment of the PI will be with the SBC at the time of award and during the conduct of the project
If the PI is not an employee of the SBC, the offeror must describe the management process to ensure SBC control of the project
Co-Principal Investigators
Not Acceptable
Not Acceptable
Misrepresentation of Qualifications
Will result in rejection of the proposal or termination of the contract
Will result in rejection of the proposal or termination of the contract
Substitution of PIs
Must receive advanced written approval from NASA
Must receive advanced written approval from NASA

1.6 General Information

1.6.1 Solicitation Distribution

This 2010 SBIR/STTR Program Solicitation is available via the NASA SBIR/STTR Website ( SBCs are encouraged to check this website for program updates and information. Any updates or corrections to the Solicitation will be posted there. If the SBC has difficulty accessing the Solicitation, contact the Help Desk (Section 1.6.2).

1.6.2 Means of Contacting NASA SBIR/STTR Program

(1) NASA SBIR/STTR Website:

(2) The websites of the NASA Mission Directorates and the NASA Centers as listed in Section 1.3 provide information on NASA plans and mission programs relevant to understanding the topics/subtopics and needs described in Section 9. Please contact the NASA SBIR/STTR Helpdesk at

The requestor must provide the name and telephone number of the person to contact, the organization name and address, and the specific questions or requests.

(4) NASA SBIR/STTR Program Manager. Specific information requests that could not be answered by the Help Desk should be mailed or e-mailed to:

Dr. Gary C. Jahns, Program Manager
NASA SBIR/STTR Program Management Office
MS 202A-3, Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

1.6.3 Questions About This Solicitation

To ensure fairness, questions relating to the intent and/or content of research topics in this Solicitation cannot be addressed during the Phase I solicitation period. Only questions requesting clarification of proposal instructions and administrative matters will be addressed.