Press Release

NASA selects CFD Research Corp. of Huntsville for contract award

By SpaceRef Editor
October 22, 2007
Filed under , ,

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NASA has selected for negotiation a proposal by CFD Research Corporation (CFDRC) of Huntsville, to continue its development of software tools to predict the effects of solar and space radiation on sensitive next-generation electronic systems for missions to the moon, Mars and beyond.

CFDRC’s proposal is one of 120 selected for negotiations of Phase 2 contract awards by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, or SBIR. CFDRC’s Phase 2 contract, “Improved Models and Tools for Prediction of Radiation Effects on Space Electronics in Wide Temperature Ranges,” is worth an estimated $600,000 over two years.

As NASA seeks to deepen and expand its exploration of the solar system, returning humans to the moon and sending new science missions to Mars and beyond, the need is growing for radiation-resistant or so-called “radiation hardened” electronics that can withstand long-duration stays in the punishing environment of space. CFD Research Corporation will develop physics-based, multi-scale, 3D models capable of predicting the effects of radiation on electronics across a wide temperature spectrum typically experienced during space missions from 266 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit.

CFDRC will validate its models and tools with the help of NASA’s Extreme Environment Electronics Program, in collaboration with the Institute for Space & Defense Electronics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The effort is designed to support the Radiation Hardened Electronics for Extreme Environments project, led by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, which seeks to develop and mature a broad spectrum of radiation hardened and low-temperature electronics technologies.

Collectively, the selected SBIR Phase 2 projects are worth approximately $72 million. NASA will award the 120 contracts to 102 small, high-technology firms in 27 states.

CFD Research Corporation is the only Phase 2 award recipient in Alabama, and one of just five across the Southeastern United States. Since 1987, the company has developed engineering simulation software, hardware and prototypes for commercial and federal aerospace, defense, biomedical and life sciences customers. The company is a two-time winner of the National Tibbetts Award for successful commercialization of innovative technologies.

MORE ABOUT NASA’S SBIR PROGRAM NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program — with offices at NASA Headquarters in Washington and all of the agency’s field centers — collaborates with U.S. industry to develop pioneering technologies, infuse them into agency missions and transition them into commercially available products and services.

The SBIR program supports NASA’s mission directorates by working with them to competitively select ventures that address critical research and technology needs for agency programs and projects. The effort addresses specific technology gaps in mission programs and strives to complement other agency research investments. Program results have benefited NASA efforts, including modern air traffic control systems, Earth observing spacecraft, the space shuttle, the International Space Station and rovers on Mars.

The SBIR program is a highly competitive, three-phase award system. It provides qualified small businesses — including those owned by women and the disadvantaged — with opportunities to propose unique ideas that meet specific research and development needs of the federal government.

Phase 1 of the SBIR is a feasibility study to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of an idea. Awards are for as long as six months in amounts up to $100,000. Phase 2 expands on the results of the development in Phase 1. Phase 3 is for the commercialization of the results of Phase 2 and requires the use of private sector or non-SBIR federal funding.

Participants submitted 243 Phase 2 proposals. The criteria used to select the winning proposals included technical merit and innovation, Phase 1 results, value to NASA, commercial potential and company capabilities.

NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., manages the program for the agency’s Innovative Partnership Program Office. NASA’s 10 field centers manage individual projects. For a complete list of selected companies, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.