TABLE 4-1 Percentage of Sales by Type of Customer



Domestic private sector


Department of Defense (DoD)


Prime contractors for DoD or NASA




Other federal agencies


State or local governments


Export markets




SOURCE: NRC Phase II Survey, Question 5.

and it is possible that technologies adopted for NASA are well placed for adoption by foreign space agencies.

Licensee Sales and Related Revenues

Licensee sales are one indicator of the extended effects of SBIR beyond the immediate awardee company and may capture important indirect commercial successes. However, the data—where survey respondents report sales not made by their own company—should be treated with an additional degree of caution as respondents do not necessarily have as accurate information about another company as they have about their own.

Licensing activity within the NASA SBIR program is limited. Only 3 projects at NASA report licensee sales greater than $0, with the largest being $300,000.24 It thus seems reasonable to conclude that licensing is not a substantial mechanism for commercialization among NASA Phase II award recipients.

Although the numbers of licenses are limited, their impact can be significant, as the case studies show. For example, TiNi Alloy licensed its pneumatic valve technology for use by Lee Inc. in meeting NASA’s needs for latching valves.25 TiNi Alloy’s Frangibolt(TM) has become a standard component on satellites (a shape memory alloy powered separation device), and was used for the Clementine Space Mission. The device has been used by TRW, the European Space Agency, and Lockheed-Martin. In addition, TiNi’s pinpuller was used on the Mars Global Explorer, and is scheduled for use in NASA’s STEREO program.

Additional Investment Funding

Further investment in a recipient company related to the SBIR award project is another indication that the project work is of value. On average, NASA SBIR


NRC Phase II Survey, Question 4.


See TiNi Alloy case study in Appendix E.

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