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The impact of small businesses on critical NASA space missions

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1 Author(s)
Thomas, R.C., III ; Nat. Aeronaut. & Space Adm., Washington, DC, USA

This paper describes the dramatic contributions of small, minority and women owned businesses to the most critical missions of America's Space Program since 1992. Such feats did not occur by accident, however. Rather, they were the end result of NASA's unique mission-oriented approach to small and disadvantaged business utilization. Through strategic organization, meticulous planning, timely execution and continuous learning, NASA rose from having a marginal small business program to one now seen as a model throughout the Federal government and the world. The benefit to NASA has been the delivery of high quality goods and services by small businesses at less cost. It has also meant a broadening of public support for the funding of its major technical projects and programs. Most important, however, is the fact that NASA's emphasis in this area has caused it to function better as an agency. For small businesses this has meant significantly more NASA prime and subcontract dollars, a better quality of contracts and, for many, the freedom from dependence on NASA contracts for survival. NASA's unequivocal success in this arena should cause many governmental and private entities to rethink its traditional approach to small and disadvantaged business utilization.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2002. IEEE  (Volume:7 )

Date of Conference:

2002