NASA Spinoff

Onboard Systems Record Unique Videos of Space Missions

It was one of the few times that a crash landing would be deemed a success. On October 9, 2009, nine sensor instruments—including five cameras—onboard the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) watched closely as the Moon-bound spacecraft released the spent upper stage of its Centaur launch vehicle

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Space Research Results Purify Semiconductor Materials

While President Obama’s news that NASA would encourage private companies to develop vehicles to take NASA into space may have come as a surprise to some, NASA has always encouraged private companies to invest in space. More than two decades ago, NASA established Commercial Space Centers across the United

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Toolkits Control Motion of Complex Robotics

That space is a hazardous environment for humans is common knowledge. Even beyond the obvious lack of air and gravity, the extreme temperatures and exposure to radiation make the human exploration of space a complicated and risky endeavor. The conditions of space and the space suits required to conduct

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Advanced Sensors Boost Optical Communication, Imaging

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution In 1992, on a gravity assist flyby of Earth that would help propel it along its mission to Jupiter, NASA’s Galileo probe detected a line of light pulses emerging from Earth’s night-darkened hemisphere. Over the next few days, Galileo’s camera imaged similar signals—even though the probe was hurtling

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Tensile Fabrics Enhance Architecture Around the World

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution On a Friday night in March 2008, fans at a college basketball game at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome noticed the stadium’s scoreboard begin to sway. Outside, winds howled through the city. Unknown to those in the stadium, a tornado was ripping through downtown. The safety of the more than

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Thermoelectric Devices Cool, Power Electronics

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution More than 10 billion miles away from Earth, a NASA spacecraft continues a journey that began in 1977. Having long since accomplished its original mission to Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 1 is the farthest human-made object from Earth, hurtling at more than 38,000 miles per hour toward the

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Robust Light Filters Support Powerful Imaging Devices

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution Consider the anatomy of a rainbow: From the inner arch, violet shifts to blue, then green, yellow, and red. Contained in the rainbow is the spectrum of light that our eyes take in and translate into images of the world around us. But the human eye only registers

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Innovative Tools Advance Revolutionary Weld Technique

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution The iconic, orange external tank of the space shuttle launch system not only contains the fuel used by the shuttle’s main engines during liftoff but also comprises the shuttle’s “backbone,” supporting the space shuttle orbiter and solid rocket boosters. Given the tank’s structural importance and the extreme forces

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Methods Reduce Cost, Enhance Quality of Nanotubes

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution For all the challenges posed by the microgravity conditions of space, weight is actually one of the more significant problems NASA faces in the development of the next generation of U.S. space vehicles. For the Agency’s Constellation Program, engineers at NASA centers are designing and testing new vessels

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Gauging Systems Monitor Cryogenic Liquids

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution Rocket fuel needs to stay cool—super cool, in fact. The ability to store gas propellants like liquid hydrogen and oxygen at cryogenic temperatures (below -243 °F) is crucial for space missions in order to reduce their volumes and allow their storage in smaller (and therefore, less costly) tanks.

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