Friday, September 21, 2012

Curiosity and NASA’s Mission to Mars: A Case for Small Business

The NASA Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) is proud to announce the Curiosity and NASA’sMission to Mars: A Case for Small Business. This informational publication contains detailed accounts of the pivotal role small businesses played in the successful Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. From development to engineering, these businesses helped shaped one of the greatest scientific achievements of our time. This publication has been distributed and seen across the federal government, including the White House, as a shining example of what small businesses have to offer agencies nationwide. The PDF is available on the NASA OSBP website free of charge. Please feel free to review it and let us know what you think. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

MSL Curiosity Small Business Google+ Hangout

On September 19, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and Small Business Administrator (SBA) Karen Mills held a Google+ Hangout to discuss the contributions that small businesses made to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity mission. The NASA Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) was proud to have our own David Grove and Truphelia Parker in attendance. I would like to extend a personal thank you to Charlie Bolden, Karen Mills, Lauren Worley Emily Cain and all those involved for bringing focus to the pivotal role these businesses played in the success of MSL.  More information about these and other small businesses that worked on Curiosity can be found on the OSBP website or in our new Curiosity publication. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Small Businesses Land on Mars

As anyone with a computer, radio or television has undoubtedly heard, mankind hit a historic milestone with the successful landing of the Curiosity Mars Rover on Mars. This rover is the most advanced piece of technology ever sent to the Red Planet and will provide high levels of data that were impossible to gain before. While NASA takes pride in this triumph, it is obvious that we didn’t do it alone – our small business partners played a crucial role in this great accomplishment.

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft launched nearly a year ago to begin its journey to Mars. After an impressive display of computer guidance and “Seven Minutes of Terror,” the Curiosity Mars Rover landed safely on the Martian surface. Color images have already started arriving from the vehicle and it’s only a matter of time before more detailed information from its impressive array of technologies, including a rock-pummeling laser, starts arriving here on Earth.

The NASA Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) wants to extend well-deserved congratulations to the small businesses helped make this amazing feat a reality. Terraza Design Group, a HUBZone small business based out of Long Beach, CA, contributed mechanical ground support equipment to the project. Curiosity’s robotic arm surface dust removal tool was designed and implemented by small business Honeybee Robotics. Mailin Space Science Systems developed the MSL decent imager and mast camera. ATA Engineering, a San Diego, CA Small Woman-owned small business, provided advanced structural analysis and other services.

Santa Barbara Applied Research Company (SBAR) has been an integral part of the MSL and Curiosity mission. They have been involved in everything from IT support to rocket fabrication. They provided such integral and high quality work that the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) recognized them as the Small Business Subcontractor of the Year. Pacific Design Technologies, Inc., another small business, provided invaluable cooling systems to Curiosity to survive the extreme temperature swings of the Mars atmosphere.

These companies prove that small businesses can make a difference not only to NASA, but also to the country and the world. NASA OSBP is here to help facilitate these advancements by assisting in the development of beneficial relationships between small businesses and our acquisition teams through programs like the Mentor-Protégé Program and our many outreach events. For more information about doing business with NASA, please visit the NASA OSBP website at Together, we can continue to work to make the NASA mission a reality.