Success Story

FLC Feature on C-Suite, LTTO and NASA/SSC

LSU-NASA team members

Visit to the NASA John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) (from left): Christopher Copelan, NASA/SSC Technology Transfer Administrator; Kevin Pollard of C-Suite Services, LLC, in Metairie, LA; Duane Armstrong, Chief, Test Technology
Branch at NASA/SSC (holding the C-Suite-designed Floating Piston Valve); and Vic Johnson, Director, Louisiana Technology Transfer Office at SSC. Photo credit: Louisiana Technology Transfer Office

Over two decades ago, a small group of individuals working to enhance the culture of technology and innovation in Louisiana, approached their governor with a unique concept—a state office located at a federal city located in a border state (Mississippi). From this idea came the Louisiana Technology Transfer Office (LTTO), a component of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center (LBTC) at the Innovation Park, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. The LTTO has maintained a technology transfer office at the NASA John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC), Mississippi, for over 25 years, the last 19 staffed full-time as a Resident Agency at SSC. Through the LTTO, the state of Louisiana has enjoyed a unique and successful partnership with NASA Stennis via a Memorandum of Understanding between the governor and the NASA Stennis Center director.

LTTO provides an avenue for universities and small businesses in Louisiana to have access to the resources of federal labs, like NASA, including Stennis Space Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans. It also supports NASA mission critical needs by leveraging resources available in Louisiana. One unique method to accelerate/simplify the flow of R&D dollars from federal labs at Stennis to universities and research institutions in Louisiana is a multiyear, task order type of procurement mechanism known as the Louisiana Research Consortium (LRC). The Louisiana Board of Regents is a signatory, and NASA is the single entity acting as fiscal agent for the universities. The current LRC is for a five-year period at $15,000,000. “The Louisiana Technology Transfer Office at Stennis has proven to be a very valuable resource for our state, providing an avenue for our universities and small businesses to access the resources of federal labs like NASA, engage with large industry on-site, and create jobs for Louisiana residents,” according to Don Pierson, Secretary at Louisiana Economic Development.

The LTTO at Stennis worked with NASA/Stennis and C-Suite Services LLC, a small start-up technology-oriented company located outside of New Orleans in Metairie, Louisiana, to help coordinate and facilitate their interest in working with NASA. C-Suite has licensed five SSC patents—the Floating Piston Valve invented by Bruce Farner (NASA), the Cryogenic Cam Butterfly Valve invented by Kenny McCormack (S3), the Energy Harvesting Smart Sensor, the Field Deployable Piezoelectric Gravimeter, and the In-situ Monitoring of Piez oelectric Sensors invented by Scott Jensen (NASA).

Over the last three years, SSC’s Test Technology Branch has used a multifaceted strategy to license the SSC patent portfolio, and the results have been phenomenal. In the last two years, SSC has signed almost as many patent licenses as the prior 20 years combined.

SSC worked closely with NASA’s Technology Transfer (T2) Program to utilize the agency’s enterprise tools, such as Technology Opportunities sheets, inventor profiles, NASA Tech Briefs, and the T2 portal (https://technology.nasa.gov), to make SSC technologies more discoverable. SSC also created its own technology website (https://technology.ssc.nasa.gov) to provide additional content.