A few days after I linked to Altius’ SBIR Phase II win, this post on Altius’ blog went up:
While Altius has won a few SBIR Phase I contracts in the past, this is our first SBIR Phase II contract, and to give you an idea of how competitive this process is, Altius was one of only 133 Phase II awardees–out of a total of 399 Phase I contracts this cycle, which were selected from 1278 Phase I proposals. Since I didn’t have the chance to explain what we were doing for this project back when we won the Phase I effort, I wanted to spend some more time and give some background on what we’re doing and where we’re trying to take this after Phase II.
It’s a fantastic read, and really worth your time. If you don’t believe me, maybe this tidbit will:
Since we wanted to design and build a flight-like prototype in Phase II anyway, we decided it was best to tie it to a real-world application, so we could make sure we were designing something that could actually be used after Phase II is over. So, during Phase I, we reached out to several launch vehicle companies that are actively developing upper stages that use at least one cryogenic fluid, and found a few who would like to work with us to provide design requirements and design feedback as we develop the coupling. I won’t go into the details of who we’re working with yet, as I haven’t verified with the customers that I have permission to discuss their applications, but we’ve found at least one customer who needs a LOX coupler, in a size that’s convenient to work with in Phase II, and which could potentially get us a flight opportunity for the coupler very soon after the end of Phase II.