As NASA continues to face the specter of deep budget cuts, the agency is looking toward investment opportunities with predictable, multifaceted returns. With that said, NASA recently revealed the latest iteration of the Small Business Technology Transfer Program it sees as central to both public and private sector scientific progress and prosperity.
Nearly $10 million in funding will be spread across 14 small business and research institutions dedicated to developing technological innovations designed to accelerate NASA's short-term efforts and potentially inspire long-term commercial demand.
"As teams in our Small Business Technology Transfer Program move into their second phase of development, we'll see innovative concepts mature into viable technologies that can be incorporated into NASA's exploration plans and benefit our technology based economy," NASA spokesman Michael Gazarik explained. "Through modest investments in technology development among American small businesses and research institution teams, we're planting the seed corn that will keep NASA leading the way forward in space exploration, and America leading the world in high-tech business enterprises."
One of the most intriguing contributors to this initiative may be accelerometer and gyroscope manufacturer VectorNav. According to Fox Business, the company's motion sensing solutions already assist many of today's mobile devices in orienting their visual displays. With additional refinement, however, those same innovations could play a key part in helping NASA target and remove active debris, or "space junk," that can interfere with satellite navigation and space aviation.