NASA Spinoff

NASA Technology

In 1990, NASA grounded its space shuttle fleet. The reason: leaks detected in the hydrogen fuel systems of the Space Shuttles Atlantis and Columbia. Unless the sources of the leaks could be identified and fixed, the shuttles would not be safe to fly.

NASA Technology

Pedro Medelius waited patiently in his lab at Kennedy Space Center. He had just received word that a colleague was bringing over a cable from a Space Shuttle solid rocket booster to test Medelius’ new invention. Medelius was calm until his colleague arrived—with about 30 other people.

NASA Technology

Shortly before midnight on September 21st, 2010, the small fishing boat Ebby Luz started taking on water. In immediate danger and 8 miles from the shore, its crew activated an emergency beacon that began transmitting their distress signal, identity, and location. Within minutes, the Coast Guard was notified and launched a helicopter to the coordinates received from the alert. Even though the vessel had already sunk by the time help arrived, and despite it being pitch dark, the rescuers were able to locate and save both crewmembers from the water.

NASA Technology

Alongside the tragedies that are part of the history of human spaceflight, bittersweet lessons have been learned. These lessons have not only taught us about the extreme requirements of space travel; they have taught us how to live more safely on Earth.

NASA Technology

Terra. Aqua. Cloudsat. Landsat. NASA runs and partners in many missions dedicated to monitoring the Earth, and the tools used in these missions continuously return data on everything from shifts in temperature to cloud formation to pollution levels over highways. The data are of great scientific value, but they also provide information that can play a critical role in decision making during times of crisis. Real-time developments in weather, wind, ocean currents, and numerous other conditions can have a significant impact on the way disasters—both natural and human-caused—unfold.

NASA Technology

Here’s a simple science experiment to try: Place an unopened bottle of distilled water in your freezer. After 2–3 hours, if the water is pure enough, you will notice that it has not frozen. Carefully pour the water into a bowl with a piece of ice in it. When it strikes the ice, the water will instantly freeze.

NASA Technology

Kennedy Space Center is not only home to one of the largest buildings in the world—the massive Vehicle Assembly Building—it also hosts a number of one-of-a-kind facilities. The more than 30-mile-long campus has witnessed every launch from the Space Shuttle Launch Pad, as well as many homecomings at the Shuttle Landing Facility. Just as important, the Space Station Processing Facility (SSPF) has seen each element of the International Space Station (ISS) that passes through Kennedy before it goes into orbit.

NASA Technology

The rescue crews have been searching for the woman for nearly a week. Hurricane Katrina devastated Hancock County, the southernmost point in Mississippi, and the woman had stayed through the storm in her beach house. There is little hope of finding her alive; the search teams know she is gone because the house is gone.

NASA Technology

Spanning nearly four decades, the remarkable Landsat program has continuously provided data about the Earth’s surface, including detailed maps of vegetation, land use, forest extent and health, surface water, population distribution, as well as how these features have changed over time. Managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, Landsat’s series of satellites obtain data through passive remote sensing, or the use of sensors to read the energy reflected or emitted from the Earth’s surface. After the data from the sensors is processed and analyzed, it can be applied to create information-rich images of the planet.

NASA Technology

Much deserved attention is given to the feats of innovation that allow humans to live in space and robotic explorers to beam never-before- seen images back to Earth. In the background of these accomplishments is a technology that makes it all possible—the rockets that propel NASA’s space exploration efforts skyward.

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