NASA Spinoff

Modeling Languages Refine Vehicle Design

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution When we watch a space shuttle launch on television, we have only the vaguest sense of the extraordinary amount of work required to make such a complex operation successful. Even with the most highly trained engineers in the world, designing a space vehicle requires many thousands of hours


Radio Relays Improve Wireless Products

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution In order to transmit communications through Earth’s atmosphere, satellites and space vehicles need radio equipment that can operate at higher frequencies than on Earth. These higher frequencies, until recently, have demanded mechanical switches in radio relays. Unfortunately, the mechanical switches had some problems with frequency routing, which inspired


Integrated Circuit Chip Improves Network Efficiency

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionPrior to 1999 and the development of SpaceWire, a standard for high-speed links for computer networks managed by the European Space Agency (ESA), there was no high-speed communications protocol for flight electronics. Onboard computers, processing units, and other electronics had to be designed for individual projects and then

Intelligent Memory Module Overcomes Harsh Environments

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionSolar cells, integrated circuits, and sensors are essential to manned and unmanned space flight and exploration, but such systems are highly susceptible to damage from radiation. Especially problematic, the Van Allen radiation belts encircle Earth in concentric radioactive tori at distances from about 6,300 to 38,000 km, though

Mars Mapping Technology Brings Main Street to Life

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionThe Red Planet has long held a particular hold on the human psyche. From the Roman god of war to Orson Welles’ infamous Halloween broadcast, our nearest planetary neighbor has been viewed with curiosity, suspicion, and awe. Pictures of Mars from 1965 to the present reveal familiar landscapes

Inductive System Monitors Tasks

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionThe Inductive Monitoring System (IMS) software developed at Ames Research Center uses artificial intelligence and data mining techniques to build system-monitoring knowledge bases from archived or simulated sensor data. This information is then used to detect unusual or anomalous behavior that may indicate an impending system failure.

Software Simulates Sight: Flat Panel Mura Detection

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionIn the increasingly sophisticated world of high-definition flat screen monitors and television screens, image clarity and the elimination of distortion are paramount concerns. As the devices that reproduce images become more and more sophisticated, so do the technologies that verify their accuracy. By simulating the manner in which

Virtual Reality System Offers a Wide Perspective

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionRobot Systems Technology Branch engineers at Johnson Space Center created the remotely controlled Robonaut for use as an additional “set of hands” in extravehicular activities (EVAs) and to allow exploration of environments that would be too dangerous or difficult for humans. One of the problems Robonaut developers encountered

Wireless Sensor Network Handles Image Data

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionTo relay data from remote locations for NASA’s Earth sciences research, Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to the development of “microservers” (wireless sensor network nodes), which are now used commercially as a quick and affordable means to capture and distribute geographical information, including rich sets of aerial and

Software Analyzes Complex Systems in Real Time

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionExpert system software programs, also known as knowledge-based systems, are computer programs that emulate the knowledge and analytical skills of one or more human experts, related to a specific subject. SHINE (Spacecraft Health Inference Engine) is one such program, a software inference engine (expert system) designed by NASA