As the entrepreneurial aerospace ecosystem continues to evolve, NASA recognizes that public-private partnerships produce greater impact. SBIR Ignite is a new way for small businesses that have a commercially-viable technology idea to use NASA as a stepping stone in their path towards commercial success. With a greater emphasis on commercialization, SBIR Ignite funds U.S. early-stage, high-risk technology development to help make companies and their technologies more attractive to private sector investors, customers, and partners.
What is the purpose?

NASA SBIR Ignite falls under the SBIR/STTR program, which was created by the federal government to strengthen the role of innovative small businesses in federally-funded research or research and development (R/R&D). One of the specific purposes of the program is to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R/R&D, thereby increasing competition, productivity, and economic growth. In particular, NASA seeks to fund ideas that are relevant in the commercial market, while contributing to the agency’s goals in aeronautics and space technology development.

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Why should I participate?

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to shape the aerospace market, this is the opportunity for you. We de-risk your technology by providing funding to help push R&D, making it more attractive to investors. While we serve as a partner, you keep full control and ownership over your intellectual property.

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Who can participate and get funding?

You must be a Small Business Concern (SBC) with 500 employees or less and legally established in the U.S. You can find full requirements in the Eligibility section here: Small businesses owned in majority part by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms are not eligible to submit a proposal for NASA SBIR Ignite. Visit the Small Business Administration’s website for more information:

More importantly, we are looking for product-driven and commercially-focused companies that do not consider NASA their primary revenue stream but want to leverage the NASA community and funding as a stepping stone for commercial success.

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What are the opportunities and phases of SBIR Ignite?

SBIR Ignite phases image

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How does it work?

The details of the process will be released along with the solicitation in summer 2022. The information below is meant to provide a high-level summary only. We encourage you to come back and read the full requirements when the solicitation released.

  • We issue a solicitation with specific technology topics relevant to the commercial aerospace market.
  • You submit a short proposal and a slide deck in response to the solicitation.
  • We will review and evaluate your proposal.
  • We invite selected companies to a closed-door presentation with a NASA review panel, which will include a Q&A session.
  • We select proposals for award based on the presentations and Q&A sessions.
  • We notify you of the final companies selected for award.
  • You negotiate contracts with NASA’s Shared Services Center (NSSC) if selected for award.
  • We include guidance regarding Phase II proposal submissions in your Phase I contract.

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When will the solicitation open?

We plan to open the SBIR Ignite Solicitation in summer 2022. Stay connected with us by signing up for communications to ensure you receive the opening date announcements and other updates.

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Where do we submit a proposal?

The SBIR Ignite proposal submission process will be communicated when the solicitation opens in summer 2022.

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How is this different from the NASA SBIR/STTR Phase I solicitation?

  • Commercialization: The NASA SBIR Ignite solicitation is focused on commercialization. While the NASA SBIR/STTR Phase I solicitations also evaluate commercial potential and feasibility, many technologies address a specific NASA challenge or need and have a goal of getting infused into a NASA mission or being sustained with NASA as a key customer. The NASA Ignite solicitation seeks technologies that will stimulate the market and where NASA is not the primary customer.

  • Engagement: The NASA SBIR Ignite opportunity includes direct engagement with a panel of experts for down-selected companies.

  • Topics:The NASA SBIR Ignite solicitation will include a select few topics relevant to emerging commercial markets in aerospace.

  • Less Prescriptive Solicitation:The NASA SBIR Ignite solicitation will be less prescriptive, encouraging companies to maintain their go-to-market strategies.

  • Shorter Proposal:Technical proposals will be shorter.

  • Accelerated Award Schedule:The NAA SBIR Ignite Phase II proposal will be due earlier in the Phase I period, allowing Phase II awards to be made faster.

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