2009

NASA Celebrates Apollo’s 40th Anniversary

Forty years ago this month, on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module and took “one small step” in the Sea of Tranquility, calling it “a giant leap for mankind.”

Forty years ago this month, on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module and took “one small step” in the Sea of Tranquility, calling it “a giant leap for mankind.”

With the success of the Apollo program, NASA delivered great progress in the fields of rocketry and aeronautics, as well as the fields of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. A number of spinoff technologies came from the Apollo program, including:

  • Cooling Suits — Cool suits, which kept Apollo astronauts comfortable during moon walks, are today worn by race car drivers, people with multiple sclerosis, and children with a congenital disorder known as hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, which restricts the body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Kidney Dialysis Machine — Special kidney dialysis machines were created as a result of a NASA-developed chemical process that removes toxic waste from used dialysis fluid.
  • Reflective Materials — Insulating barriers made of metalized foil laid over a core of propylene or mylar, which protected astronauts and their spacecraft from radiation and heat, are now found in common home insulation.
  • Water Purification -— Water purification technology used on the Apollo spacecraft is now employed in several spinoff applications to kill bacteria, viruses, and algae in community water supply systems and cooling towers.
  • Freeze-Dried Foods — Freeze-dried food solved the problem of what to feed an astronaut on Apollo missions.
  • Green Buildings Employ Space Suit Textiles — The same fabric used in Apollo spacesuits has been spun off into an environmentally friendly building material. The Teflon-coated fiberglass strands create a permanent, tent-like roof.
  • Flame-Resistant Textiles for Firefighters & Soldiers — After a fire on the Apollo launch pad resulted in the death of three astronauts, NASA worked with private industry to develop fireresistant textiles. These materials are now used in firefighting, military, motor sports, and other applications.

For more information on events, Apollo mission history, and to view mission images, visit NASA’s Apollo 40th Anniversary Web site at: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/40th/index.html.

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