NASA Spinoff

Modified Fittings Enhance Industrial Safety

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

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Information Systems Coordinate Emergency Management

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.

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Imaging Systems Provide Maps for U.S. Soldiers

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

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High-Pressure Systems Suppress Fires in Seconds

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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Alloy-Enhanced Fans Maintain Fresh Air in Tunnels

NASA Technology The Partnership for Next Generation Vehicles (PNGV) is not a NASA initiative to develop powerful new rockets and spacecraft, even though it may sound like one. PNGV was a partnership established by the Clinton administration between the Federal government and the U.S. Council for Automotive Research to develop technologies that improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions

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Radiometers Optimize Local Weather Prediction

One of the greatest dangers to aircraft—playing a role in numerous destructive and fatal accidents around the world—comes in the form of droplets of water. Clouds are made up of tiny water particles with diameters typically between 10 and 50 microns. In clean air, cloud droplets can exist in

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Energy-Efficient Systems Eliminate Icing Danger for UAVs

One of the more remarkable developments in aviation in recent years has been the increasing deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Since the invention of the first UAV in 1916, these remotely—or sometimes autonomously—controlled vehicles have become invaluable tools for military reconnaissance and combat, cargo transport, search and

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Rocket-Powered Parachutes Rescue Entire Planes

When Boris Popov was 8 years old, he took one of his mother’s sheets and some thread, made a parachute, climbed a tree, and jumped. The homemade chute did little to break Popov’s fall; his father took the disappointed boy aside and said, “Son, you’ve got to start higher.”

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Technologies Advance UAVs for Science, Military

Greek mythology tells of the inventor Daedalus using wings of his own fashioning to escape from imprisonment on the island of Crete. In 1988, a similar adventure was launched, though in this case carbon-fiber composites, gears, and driveshafts featured instead of wax and feathers.

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Inflatable Antennas Support Emergency Communication

Space exploration requires reliable and efficient communication technology. One device currently under development is the inflatable antenna. Due to several unique characteristics—it is lightweight, easy to deploy, inexpensive, and requires low storage volume—inflatable technology is especially well-suited for space applications. Without requiring mechanical actuators or human assembly, something the

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