Nasa has selected 20 new research and technology proposals to provide a total of $15m in funding to promote the agency’s future deep space missions and benefit the US economy.

Forming part of Nasa’s Phase ll Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programme, the proposals were selected from 19 small businesses based in the US following a competitive process.

Each of the selected business will work together with various research institutions from different parts of the US, including New Jersey, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois and California, to develop technologies in the fields of aeronautics, science, human exploration and operations, and space technology.

Nasa Washington Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) acting associate administrator Jim Reuter said: “Our STTR programme focuses both entrepreneurs and leading research institutions on Nasa’s long-term goals, bringing the latest in aerospace research to our programmes.”

“Our STTR programme focuses both entrepreneurs and leading research institutions on Nasa’s long-term goals, bringing the latest in aerospace research to our programmes.”

The newly selected proposals will  focus on the research and development of a distributed electric propulsion aircraft comprehensive analysis and design tool that will help Nasa and aircraft manufacturers to use electric/hybrid propulsion to achieve low carbon emissions.

They will also focus on the development of autonomous power controllers for mission critical microgrid power systems for Nasa’s Deep Space Gateway and the International Space Station.

In order to help design and optimise solid rocket motors, multiphase modelling of solid rocket motor internal environment will also be developed under the new STTR programme.

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The modelling tools will be developed to accurately model slag accumulation and its impact on solid rocket motor performance, efficiency and thrust oscillation. They can be used to rockets built by Nasa, the US Department of Defense and other industry rockets.

Validity of the projects will last 24 months with a maximum funding of $750,000 for one project.