How NASA Is Becoming More Business Friendly

A new case study demonstrates the steps being taken by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) to make it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to understand its needs and do business with it. The detailed case study, which provides insights on the design, results, and lessons learned from these efforts, is published in New Space: The Journal of Space Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Jennifer Gustetic, NASA Headquarters (Washington, DC) and colleagues from NASA Ames Research Center (Mountain View, CA), REI Systems (Sterling, VA), and the Department of Energy (Washington, DC) co-authored the article entitled “Making NASA More Business Friendly: A Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Case Study.” They describe the three core initiatives of the effort to make NASA more open to collaboration with small businesses. These included developing an annual Request for Information (RFI), which offered an opportunity for businesses to provide input and submit ideas. A second initiative was the establishment of Industry Day, an annual small business-NASA event that provided a forum in which small business customers and NASA subject matter experts could convene, to increase the likelihood for commercialization of innovations and successful uptake of new technologies by NASA. Lastly, NASA prioritized the modernization of its Electronic Handbook, an IT system used to manage the solicitation of proposals and awards process. The authors discuss the results of these efforts, draw conclusions, and suggest future steps that can be taken to further improve collaboration between NASA and the small business community.

“NASA has been one of the most proactive U.S. government actors for the promotion of innovation, and developing small business capabilities, to help meet the agency’s mission goals,” says New Space Editor-in-Chief of Ken Davidian, who has worked in the commercial space transportation industry for over 30 years.

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