Broadcast 4083 Jason Kessler

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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest: Jason Keller; Topics:  NASA SBIR grants, SBIR Ignite Solicitation due date Sept. 21, 2023, SBIR rules and requirements, SBIR funding amounts, SBIR Ignite Solicitation for 2024, SBIR solicitation history, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

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We welcomed Jason Kessler to the program to discuss the SBIR and SBTT funding programs initiated by NASA.  Jason is the Program Executive.  Jason talked about his background and his in again out again work with NASA and the space community along with having technology interests. We started off started about the SBIR Ignite 2023 Solicitation which has a final due date of Sept. 21, 2023.  Please follow along and become familiar with our topics through the use of our Tags for this program.  For your convenience, the Tags are repeated below.  In addition, the current SBIR Ignite Solicitation prospectus has been posted to our blog for this program.

Tags:  Jason Kessler, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), government, NASA, 2023 Ignite Solicitation, NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate, Phase 1, Phase 2, Ignite Pilot Program Commercial Focus, extremely competitive program, continued resubmission OK, Ignite requirements, SBTTR program, venture capital referrals, suggested hot topics, business size requirements, PPT presentation, White Paper requirement, U.S. citizen/resident requirement, topics such as gravity RX research  As we were, 2024 Ignite Solicitation, student eligibility, SBIR trends and demand over time, Capstone Project, middle and high school students, SBIR technology gaps, SBIR application complications, RFI, FAST Center Small Business Association, SBIR on impacting NASA budget,, SBIR as part of the NASA overall budget.

By way of introduction, from the Ignite Solicitation, "The SBIR Ignite Solicitation is a limited pilot program focused on technologies with a strong commercial pull.  There are several differences from the traditional NASA annual SBIR and STTR solicitations."  This was the introductory statement on P. 6 of the Ignite Solicitation. If interested, please continue reading to see if you want to apply by the due date.

Jason explained Ignite to us and why the short duration due date.  Keep in mind the Ignite 2023 program actually kicked off early August. I hope to talk about the program next year but closer to its start date rather than at the last minute.  In discussing Ignite and taking listener questions, our guest went over many of the rules and requirements ranging from the size of a business and the need to be staffed by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  He described in some detail the Power Point PDF document that needs to be part of the application plus a submitted White Paper on the project idea.  Jason spent time talking about the highly competitive nature of the grants suggesting about 300 applications with 12 selected and only part of the 12 being funded.  When asked for suggested topics, he listed some of the previous "hot" topics submitted to Ignite.  In this discussion, he listed five such topics so do listen to what he said and how he described the topics. After hearing the hot topics, Ralph in Phoenix wanted to know if a suggested gravity RX project/business might meet with approval. You will need to listen to Jason's response for his reply. 

Later in the discussion, Jason was asked about commercial space trends that he had seen in his career from his start back in 1994 to today, not being limited to the SBIR programs. Jason spent some time with us going over the changes he saw both when working and out of NASA periods starting going back almost three decades.  Note what he said about the XPrize, the launch industry, and electronic miniaturization. Data mining was also a big change that Jason talked about plus the growth of small businesses.  Re the small business context, he mentioned the Capstone Mission which we have presented on several Space Show programs.

Fremont John called to ask about GAP assessment in SBIR solicitations. Jason had much to say in response to John, including an explanation of the RFI. Our friend Joe Latrell asked why SBIR applications were so complex and hard to write. Jason did provide Joe with a decent answer to his question but what do you think? Was it a good answer as to why SBIR programs are so complex to put together?  Let us know what you think on our blog. Jason suggested that interested parties check out the HELP section resources and the webinar "Dissecting The Solicitation."  As we were nearing the end of the program, George in San Francisco asked for budget information regarding the SBIR program and the total NASA budget.  Jason went through many of the budget numbers and percentages with us in response to this question.

Please post your comments/questions for Jason Kessler on our blog for this show.  You can reach Jason through The Space Show or the NASA SBIR Office.




Jason talks NASA SBIR program and funding

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01 Sep 2023 Jason Kessler
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