SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAM OPPORTUNITIES
SDA is responsible for unifying and integrating next-generation space capabilities to deliver the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. To accomplish this task, SDA capitalizes on a unique business model that values speed and lowers costs by harnessing commercial development.
The participation of innovative small businesses in the defense industrial base is critical to the United States' efforts to maintain its technological superiority, military readiness, and warfighting advantage. SDA uses every opportunity to engage small businesses and their innovative capabilities enabling them to compete for DOD prime contracts and subcontracts, along with programs aimed specifically at small businesses. In doing so, SDA is implementing the Administration’s priority to reduce barriers to access and increase opportunities for small businesses.
During fiscal year 2022, SDA:
- Made 46 awards to small business valued at more than $3.7 million;
- Issued a special notice to industry for the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture Systems, Technologies, and Emerging Capabilities (STEC) Broad Agency Announcement, received 8 submissions, and awarded more than $11 million to four small businesses;
- Selected a small business (York Space Systems) to serve as a prime contractor on the Tranche 1 Demonstration and Experimentation System (T1DES) program.
In October 2021, SDA began participating in the DoD-wide Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 22.4 Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) and the DoD Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) 22.D Annual Program BAA. These BAAs can be accessed through SDA.mil or directly on SAM.gov. These BAAs enable:
- Leap-ahead improvements for future tranches of currently planned PWSA capability layers;
- New capability layers to address other emerging or evolving Warfighters needs.
Through a competitive awards-based program, SDA’s SBIR/STTR efforts enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. In FY 2022, SDA leveraged the SBIR/STTR program to support the development and demonstration of capabilities including space-based optical communications and optical ground terminals, secure mesh networking solutions, automated target recognition algorithms, and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled on-orbit data processing.
SDA will post updated Small Business Opportunities throughout FY 2023 in partnership with SpaceWERX as we identify specific technical topics for industry consideration and will consider partnering with other organizations such as DARPA or AFRL based on their research interests and the quality of small business proposals.
During fiscal year 2021, SDA:
- Received 152 small business proposals and awarded more than $8.5 million to seven small businesses;
- Released 12 SBIR/ STTR program topics and selected multiple small businesses and non-profit research institutions for awards;
- Selected a small business (York Space Systems) to serve as a prime contractor on one of our larger contracts in Tranche 0 – directly impacting the PWSA;
- Provided a small business with their first shot to launch a payload (Prototype On-Orbit Experimental Testbed (POET) by SSCI) to orbit through SBIR Phase II program funding.
Through SDA.mil, or directly on SAM.gov, small businesses can access DOD’s BAAs specific to small business and one SDA BAA for systems, technologies, and emerging warfighting capabilities to which small business can submit. These BAAs:
- Enable leap-ahead improvements for future tranches of currently planned PWSA capability layers
- Enable new capability layers to address other emerging or evolving warfighters needs.
- SDA released a BAA in FY 2021 to launch its participation in DOD’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program before participating in the DOD-wide BAAs.
- Through a competitive awards-based program, SDA’s SBIR/STTR efforts will enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.
- SDA will post updated Small Business Opportunities throughout the year as we identify specific technical topics for industry consideration and will consider partnering with other organizations such as DARPA or AFRL based on their research interests and the quality of small business proposals.
In October 2020, SDA issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) inviting submissions of innovative research concepts supporting the advancement of our national defense space capabilities through the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. Starting in FY 2022, SDA began using the DOD small business BAAs to gather proposals.
While SDA prioritizes mature technologies that can be rapidly fielded, we can make pivotal investments in small business research and development activities, particularly when the return on those investments can be leveraged in future acquisitions. You will find our agency working with a variety of small businesses with promising technologies to “seed the ecosystem.”
“[DOD is] committed to examining the administrative barriers that small businesses face in working with us. And we will take meaningful action to remove barriers where we can.”
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks
"It’s my opinion that when you're trying to innovate, when you're trying to be creative, the best way to do that is to open up the aperture of ideas. And I think small businesses have a tremendous role that they can play in helping provides some of those innovative creative capabilities that we can then leverage to build a full spectrum response to what our adversaries are trying to do."
U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, during his confirmation hearing for Chief of Space Operations
Please see the DOD BAAs for details and submission instructions.