NASA Spinoff

NASA's Radio Frequency Bolt Monitor: A Lifetime of Spinoffs

This story begins in the 1970s, when Dr. Joseph Heyman, a young scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center, was asked to support the investigation of a wind tunnel accident at a sister center. Although the work was outside of his physics background, it sparked a research focus that guided his

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Cost-Cutting Powdered Lubricant

Scientists at NASA's Glenn Research Center developed a high-temperature, solid lubricant coating material that is saving the manufacturing industry millions of dollars. The material came out of 3 decades of tribological research, work studying high-temperature friction, lubrication, and the wearing of interacting surfaces that are in relative motion. It was

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Making a Reliable Actuator Faster and More Affordable

Before any rocket is allowed to fly and be used for a manned mission, it is first test-fired on a static test stand to verify its flight readiness. NASA's Stennis Space Center provides testing of Space Shuttle Main Engines, rocket propulsion systems, and related components with several test facilities. It

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Miniature Wireless Sensors Size Up to Big Applications

Like the environment of space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live. But far beneath the waves near Key Largo, Florida, an underwater laboratory called Aquarius provides a safe harbor for scientists to live and work for weeks at a time.

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Spatial Phase Imaging

In 1928, Alexander Fleming, a young Scottish scientist with a side practice of discretely treating the syphilis infections of prominent Londoners, was researching agents that could be used to combat such bacterial infections. He left his practice for a 2-week vacation, inadvertently leaving several bacterial culture plates unwashed and out

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Electrical Conductivity in Textiles

Copper is the most widely used electrical conductor. Like most metals, though, it has several drawbacks: it is heavy, expensive, and can break. Fibers that conduct electricity could be the solutions to these problems, and they are of great interest to NASA.

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Laser Mapping for Visual Inspection and Measurement

Each space shuttle orbiter has 38 Primary Reaction Control System (PRCS) thrusters to help power and position the vehicle for maneuvers in space, including reentry and establishing Earth orbit. Minor flaws in the ceramic lining of a thruster, such as a chip or crack, can cripple the operations of an

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Nano Goes Magnetic to Attract Big Business

Glenn Research Center has combined state-of-the-art electrical designs with complex, computer-aided analyses to develop some of today’s most advanced power systems, in space and on Earth. The center’s Power and On-Board Propulsion Technology Division is the brain behind many of these power systems. For space, this division builds technologies that

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The Cutting Edge of High-Temperature Composites

NASA’s Ultra-Efficient Engine Technology (UEET) program was formed in 1999 at Glenn Research Center to manage an important national propulsion program for the Space Agency. The UEET program’s focus is on developing innovative technologies to enable intelligent, environmentally friendly, and clean-burning turbine engines capable of reducing harmful emissions while maintaining

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Robust, Thin Optical Films for Extreme Environments

The environment of space presents scientists and engineers with the challenges of a harsh, unforgiving laboratory in which to conduct their scientific research. Solar astronomy and X-ray astronomy are two of the more challenging areas into which NASA scientists delve, as the optics for this high-tech work must be extremely

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