BRS Wins Third NASA Award for Small Business Innovative Research
SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ –
BRS (OTC Bulletin Board: BRSI or BRSI.OB) was informed by the U.S. national space agency (NASA) that it was selected for the company’s third grant to pursue goals under NASA’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. BRS participated in two earlier awards – called Phase I and Phase II – completed in 1999. NASA supports small businesses like BRS doing high-risk, high-payoff research on technology that might make air travel safer. Phase I awards are for $60,000 and can lead to Phase II awards of approximately $600,000. The new Phase I feasibility study will begin in December, 2001.
NASA received over 1,700 proposals for funding under this SBIR program and chose 325, four of them from the state of Minnesota. Notably, this was only one of three granted in the field of general aviation safety.
“The award from NASA was given to us so we can study the possibility of installing emergency parachute systems in bigger corporate jets,” said president and CEO, Mark B. Thomas. BRS currently fits aircraft from ultralights to kit-built aircraft to certified small business aircraft. The company is the supplier to Cirrus Design for their four-seat, high-performance SR20 and SR22 aircraft. With the new grant BRS will investigate systems for jet aircraft carrying 4-12 passengers. It can also lead to commercial funding or partnerships.
“We will study these possibilities for about two years before any product would become available,” said BRS Chief Engineer, Tony Kasher. However, it opens the door to a very important segment of aviation. And, BRS maintains, the support of NASA toward this objective is very significant as that agency has taken a strong position in support of general aviation growth.
Some industry experts fail to see the logic of an emergency parachute system on twin engine aircraft, but company officials are quick to observe that twin engines don’t help in mid-air collisions or loss of control. Others think jets are too big and too fast for parachutes, but BRS suggests these nay sayers are not considering Air Force drops of battle tanks and high-speed ejections from military aircraft.
The program allowing this award is called the NASA SBIR, or Small Business Innovative Research. More information on this program can be found at the NASA SBIR site of http://sbir.nasa.gov . NASA’s goal is to stimulate technological innovation and to increase the use of small business in meeting federal research-and-development needs. A further goal is to increase private sector commercialization for results of federally funded research. The NASA SBIR Program Management Office is located at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Based in South St. Paul, Minn., BRS, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets unique and proprietary ballistic parachute systems that lower aircraft to the ground in the event of an in-flight emergency. Through 20 years in business the company has delivered over 16,000 parachute systems for use on certified and recreational aircraft. And, as of October 2001, the company has documentation proving the lives of 142 pilots and passengers were spared by the use of the BRS emergency parachute system on their aircraft. Further information is available on the company’s web site at http://www.BRSparachutes.com