NASA Spinoff

Tools Lighten Designs, Maintain Structural Integrity

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution While working on designs for a new high-speed aircraft, a group of software engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center developed a program that helps create lighter weight vehicles, while still maintaining strength and structural integrity. Part of the National Aerospace Plane project, the software was necessary to allow

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Insulating Foams Save Money, Increase Safety

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution Researchers at the Advanced Materials and Processing Branch at Langley Research Center created a superior polyimide foam as insulation for reusable cryogenic propellant tanks on the space shuttle. At the time, the foam insulation on the tanks had a limited lifetime: one launch, which did not suit NASA’s

Polyimide Resins Resist Extreme Temperatures

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution Spacecraft and aerospace engines share a common threat: high temperature. The temperatures experienced during atmospheric reentry can reach over 2,000 °F, and the temperatures in rocket engines can reach well over 5,000 °F.

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Sensors Locate Radio Interference

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution While many air travelers are accustomed to rules against electronic devices during takeoff and landing, they might not be aware that these devices are banned because they can cause electromagnetic interference (EMI) with navigation equipment. Because similar problems can occur near launch sites for space missions, NASA began

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Surface Operations Systems Improve Airport Efficiency

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution As part of its research to make air travel safer, NASA began collaborating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2005 to develop what are now called surface traffic management systems (STMS). Both agencies have expressed a need to gather and organize data on airport surface operations, the

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Nontoxic Resins Advance Aerospace Manufacturing

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution A small pile of PETI-330 resinous powder PETI-330 is the first resin created specifically for high-temperature composites formed with resin transfer molding and resin infusion. Offering processability, toughness, and high-temperature performance, the resin has a low-melt viscosity and, when cured, a high glass transition temperature.

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Software Performs Complex Design Analysis

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionDesigners use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to gain greater understanding of the fluid flow phenomena involved in components being designed. They also use finite element analysis (FEA) as a tool to help gain greater understanding of the structural response of components to loads, stresses and strains, and the

Engineering Models Ease and Speed Prototyping

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionNASA astronauts plan to return to the Moon as early as 2015 and establish a lunar base, from which 6-month flights to Mars would be launched by 2030. Essential to this plan is the Ares launch vehicle, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft that will, in various iterations, be responsible for

Aerodynamics Research Revolutionizes Truck Design

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionThe last 35 years have seen a sea change in the design of trucks on America’s highways, reflecting extensive research into vehicle aerodynamics and fluid dynamics conducted by NASA engineers. Thanks to the ingenuity of a Dryden Flight Research Center researcher bicycling through the California desert and a

Advanced Control System Increases Helicopter Safety

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionFor over 30 years, NASA and U.S. Army engineers have worked together at Ames Research Center to make rotorcraft fly more quickly, quietly, and safely in all kinds of weather. Development of new technologies for both military and civil helicopters, tiltrotor aircraft, and other advanced rotary-wing aircraft has

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