NASA Spinoff

Anti-Icing Formulas Prevent Train Delays

NASA Technology In the winter of 2009, Washington, DC, workers faced the prospect of a difficult commute due to record-setting snowfalls. But thousands of the city’s Metrorail riders found the public transportation system fully functional, thanks in part to a NASA technology invented years before.

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Shuttle Repair Tools Automate Vehicle Maintenance

NASA Technology Successfully building, flying, and maintaining the space shuttles was an immensely complex job that required a high level of detailed, precise engineering. After each shuttle landed, it entered a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) phase. Each system was thoroughly checked and tested, and worn or damaged parts replaced, before the shuttle was rolled out for

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Pressure-Sensitive Paints Advance Rotorcraft Design Testing

NASA Technology The rotors of certain helicopters can spin at speeds as high as 500 revolutions per minute. As the blades slice through the air, they flex, moving into the wind and back out, experiencing pressure changes on the order of thousands of times a second and even higher.

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Speech Recognition Interfaces Improve Flight Safety

NASA Technology “Alpha, Golf, November, Echo, Zulu.” “Sierra, Alpha, Golf, Echo, Sierra.” “Lima, Hotel, Yankee.” It looks like some strange word game, but the combinations of words above actually communicate the first three points of a flight plan from Albany, New York to Florence, South Carolina. Spoken by air traffic controllers and pilots, the aviation industry’s standard International Civil

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Polymers Advance Heat Management Materials for Vehicles

NASA Technology For 6 years prior to the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program, the shuttles carried an onboard repair kit with a tool for emergency use: two tubes of NOAX, or “good goo,” as some people called it. NOAX flew on all 22 flights following the Columbia accident, and was designed to repair damage that

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Wireless Sensors Pinpoint Rotorcraft Troubles

NASA Technology Helicopters present many advantages over fixed-wing aircraft: they can take off from and land in tight spots, they can move in any direction with relative ease, and they can hover in one area for extended periods of time. But that maneuverability comes with costs.

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Cameras Improve Navigation for Pilots, Drivers

NASA Technology After 10 months of traveling through deep space to Mars, the Phoenix Lander finally approached its destination. The last 7 minutes of the spacecraft’s 423 million-mile-journey—the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase—were the most critical and also the most difficult. In the history of Mars landing missions, only 5 of 13 attempts have succeeded. It would

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Integrated Design Tools Reduce Risk, Cost

NASA Technology As NASA designs new spacecraft for its science missions and begins designs for the next generation of human spaceflight vehicles, it also works to revolutionize Earth’s airspace with safer, more efficient air vehicles. Throughout its research and development activities, NASA employs the best design tools available.

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Advisory Systems Save Time, Fuel for Airlines

NASA Technology Heinz Erzberger never thought the sky was falling, but he knew it could benefit from enhanced traffic control. Throughout the 1990s, Erzberger led a team at Ames Research Center to develop a suite of automated tools to reduce restrictions and improve the efficiency of air traffic control operations. Called CTAS, or Center-TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control)

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Modeling Programs Increase Aircraft Design Safety

NASA Technology “Flutter” may sound like a benign word when associated with a flag in a breeze, a butterfly, or seaweed in an ocean current. When used in the context of aerodynamics, however, it describes a highly dangerous, potentially deadly condition.

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