For the last five years that I worked as a Business news reporter at The Oklahoman in the early 2000s, my job was to cover Oklahoma’s ‘tech’ industry.
It was exciting to see new Oklahoma technologies bubbling up all the time. Health care was big. Software. Products developed in labs of university professors.
Sometimes, I got an early look at an emerging technology through the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup collegiate business plan competition. Now called the Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup, the annual event is managed by i2E, Inc., the not-for-profit corporation that provides business advisory services and investment to Oklahoma startups.
Students from campuses across Oklahoma compete annually in the Love’s Cup and pitch some amazing technologies.
Anyway, back in 2009 I met a young Oklahoma State University student named Shoaib Shaikh, who pitched a concept developed around explosive detection technology at the Love’s Cup. The intellectual property was developed in the labs of a couple of OSU professors.
The team did not make the finals of the event.
But guess what? The students and the professors continued to pursue the technology and launched a business to advance it. It was called XploSafe, LLC.
Today, more than 10 years later, XploSafe is an emerging Oklahoma success story and still based in Stillwater. And Shoaib is its CEO and chief financial officer.
XploSafe has broadened its menu of safety products to include homeland security and first responder applications, air monitoring for chemical and vapor detection, transportation security and hazmat safety.
The company continues to make groundbreaking news on a regular basis. Just two months ago I published news that XploSafe had been awarded the Green Chemistry Challenge Award by the Environmental Protection Agency for a sorbent product it developed for the removal of phosphorus and nitrogen from water.
This week, I received a news release from XploSafe that revealed it has been awarded a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program research contract from NASA. XploSafe will develop sorbents to protect astronauts from potentially harmful contaminants in their spacesuits.
It’s great to see this Oklahoma company continue to push the innovation envelope with groundbreaking products. Congratulations, XploSafe!
Here is the entire XploSafe news release about the NASA award:
XploSafe Wins $750K Phase II NASA SBIR Research Contract
Stillwater, OK – 19 August 2021 – XploSafe announced today that it has been awarded a $750,000 Phase II SBIR contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to advance the development of vacuum-regenerable sorbents for the next-generation of American spacesuits over the next two years.
The XploSafe sorbents shall keep the spacesuit’s internal air-flow free of potential toxic, trace contaminants, which can pose severe health threat to the crewmembers. This capability is necessary for NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions, in which the United States intends to return to the moon by 2024, and the XploSafe team is aiming to submit working prototypes to the team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center for testing within the first 12 months of the project. This can have major a positive impact on the logistics of future space missions by replacing the current non-regenerable sorbent with a vacuum-regenerable sorbent.
Dr. Moumita Bhattacharya, Research Scientist I at XploSafe, stated that “we felt that we had not only met, but greatly exceeded the goals set forth by the team at NASA during the Phase I. Winning a follow-up contract was validation that we had done just that.”
During this Phase II project XploSafe aims to develop and deliver prototypes of the new Trace Contamination Control System that can be directly integrated into the spacesuits’ life support system.
The new sorbent technology will advance the viability of NASA’s crewed deep space exploration objectives. To enable longer spacewalks, lighter launch payloads, and substantially improve time in-suit over the duration of upcoming missions.
XploSafe’s Operations Manager, Michael Teicheira, had the following to say: “the awarding of this Phase II contract shows just how special our research during the proof-of-concept phase was. Our team is excited to continue showcasing the research and development efforts of XploSafe here on the biggest stage, and we are grateful for another opportunity to show the world what Oklahoma can offer.”
XploSafe based in Stillwater, Oklahoma is a provider of critical safety solutions for homeland security and chemical safety. Their XploSens explosives detection, XPell peroxide safety products, and XCel+ chemical vapor sampling badges are used by first respondes, industrial safety officers, threat assessment officials, and laboratory and chemical manufacturing personnel all over the world. The company holds multiple patents for vapor nanoconfinement technology that facilitates high-capacity absorption, stabilization, and consistent recovery (removal) of a wide range of volatile, semi-volatile, and even reactive organic compounds.
For questions, please contact Shoaib Shaikh, Co-Founder and CEO, at Shoaib@XploSafe.com, or visit XploSafe online at www.XploSafe.com.