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Paragon Space Development Corporation
Dec 28, 2007 06:30:54 PM | Shana Dale
NASA drives innovation, which creates new jobs, new markets and new technologies through a modest investment of less than six-tenths of one percent of the overall federal budget.
Paragon Space Development Corporation in Tucson, Ariz., is one example. Paragon is a woman-owned small business specializing in aerospace engineering and technology development. Paragon is an innovative company in its own right, and also is an example of the creative ways NASA works with local governments and small businesses to create better opportunities for all.
As a recipient of a NASA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant, Paragon developed a new, reduced weight radiator system for use on America’s next-generation spacecraft, the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Orion, and Ares I, the rocket that will carry it, are progressively moving from contracts to equipment tests. All major contracts for the Ares I were awarded in 2007, and component testing has already begun.
Paragon credits the Arizona Department of Commerce and the Arizona governor’s FAST Grant Award (Federal And State Technology partnership program) for the seed funds that led to the NASA SBIR grant. Paragon used its $5,000 FAST grant award to write its initial proposal to NASA. The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Arizona Department of Commerce fund the FAST Grant program. It focuses on returning federal >grants for Arizona-based companies, and creating new jobs and new jobs in America.
Paragon’s success shows how industry teamed with government at the local and federal levels can spur innovation and create the jobs that build stronger communities. "We’ve received, over the last three years, $1.4 million in grants that we can attribute to that $5,000 worth of assistance from the state. That’s a pretty good rate of return for the state," said Taber McCallum, chief executive officer and co-founder of Paragon.
Paragon Space Development Corporation shows how NASA-driven innovations are benefiting commercial concerns across the country. They prove that the nation’s modest investment in NASA produces powerful returns.