Official website of the U.S. government

Skip to main content

❮   Return to blog

NASA’s Commitment to Made in America

July 27, 2023

By Dr. Daniel Kocevski, StarBurst Principal Investigator and Livia Shmavonian, Made In America Director, Office of Management and Budget

Image of planet Earth against sky backdrop

The Biden-Harris President’s Management Agenda (PMA) Vision lays the foundation for an effective, equitable, and accountable government that delivers results for all three main priority areas. Periodically, we share stories that highlight real-world examples of one of the three PMA priorities. The story below discusses how NASA supports American workers and the U.S. domestic manufacturing base through the federal acquisition system. This supports the work of PMA Priority 3, Business of Government.

From the stunning images released from the James Webb Space Telescope to the planned Artemis missions that will set the first woman and the first person of color on the moon by the end of the decade, NASA is committed to partnering with a wide variety of domestic and international partners to successfully accomplish its diverse set of missions.

Making it in America: NASA and Alpha Spectra Partnership

One success story is the partnership between NASA and Alpha Spectra. Alpha Spectra is a space-components manufacturer in Grand Junction, Colorado. They produce scintillation detectors — a device that helps scientists detect high-energy radiation— for NASA’s StarBurst mission. NASA designed the StarBurst program, which they plan to launch in 2025, to explore the nature of black holes, the evolutionary history of the stars that comprise the universe, and unanswered questions about gravity.

The Federal Government buys more than $600 billion in goods and services each year. As part of the PMA, the Biden-Harris Administration is working to strengthen U.S. domestic manufacturing and support American workers through federal procurement. Until recently, foreign based companies supplied most of the scintillation detectors to NASA. Using Alpha Spectra as a supplier for these detectors not only ramps up domestic production here at home but also allows NASA to rely on U.S. suppliers. Of the awards made to small businesses by NASA in FY22 for products, 96.94% of those were manufactured in the U.S.

“We are really excited to work with Alpha Spectra in developing the detectors that we’ll be flying on StarBurst” said Dr. Daniel Kocevski, Principle Investigator of the StarBurst mission. “Alpha Spectra’s expertise in the design and production of scintillation crystals will help enable the success of the StarBurst’s mission objectives to further explore the high-energy Universe”

The relationship between Alpha Spectra and NASA is one example of domestically-sourced manufacturers and local labor successfully working together to support a federal-level led mission. NASA achieves its goal of supporting American business and in turn, Alpha Spectra is able to contribute to a high-profile astrophysics mission and showcase their design and manufacturing capabilities, spur innovation, and create more jobs for Americans. As one of only a few companies capable of purifying and growing the crystals used in scintillation detectors, their partnership with NASA will allow them to become a reliable and dependent component of the manufacturing process to make programs like StarBurst a success.

Stay Informed

Follow along with Performance.gov on LinkedIn and Twitter as we highlight different agencies and their goals. We will continue to update Performance.gov quarterly with progress on agency and PMA priorities and strategies.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates in your inbox.

We invite you to follow along with us on Performance.gov

Updated quarterly with progress on agency and PMA priorities and strategies.