NASA Spinoff

Computer Technology

NASA Technology

Even before much-anticipated autonomous drones finally take to the sky, the U.S. airspace is saturated, says now-retired Langley Research Center scientist Kennie...

NASA Technology

NASA famously uses simulation software to design spacecraft, predict satellite orbits, and train astronauts. But modeling and simulation are...

NASA Technology

Today conference calling is so easy and common it is essentially unremarkable. Share a toll-free phone number and instantly dozens, hundreds, or even...

NASA Technology

When it comes to monitoring and managing the health of any system, sensors are the front-line technology. They gauge a system’s vital signs, such as...

NASA Technology

The software started as a way to evaluate the reliability of systems that look for anomalies in aircraft components and respond to them in flight. Today it is...

NASA Technology

Only 12 people have walked on the Moon. That may soon change—within the next few decades, when it simply becomes a matter of buying a ticket. It will...

NASA Technology

In the Old English epic Beowulf, the warrior Unferth, jealous of the eponymous hero’s bravery, openly doubts Beowulf’s odds of slaying the monster Grendel that...

NASA Technology

There are so many pieces to a successful mission in space, and keeping track of it all is no easy task. Software designed to simplify the interface between mission...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software Toolkit Steadies Rockets

NASA Technology

“Combustion instability is the part of rocket science that makes rocket science hard,” says Paul Gloyer, actual rocket scientist and cofounder of a company that hopes to help...

NASA Technology

In the late 1980s, NASA engineers were working to improve software to simulate how air flowed around vehicles in flight. But the Space Shuttle posed a...

NASA Technology

NASA tackles some of the biggest questions in the universe, and the tools needed to look for answers are often, themselves, big, in both size and cost. But one...

NASA Technology

Since the advent of the laser in the 1960s, engineers have struggled to use light beams in free space to send information the way we use radio waves....

NASA Technology

It’s the 2050s. On the far side of the Moon, in the vast, pockmarked South Pole-Aitken Basin impact crater, groups of college students from...

NASA Technology

Most Internet users may not know that every time they see an online ad, it was placed there after a near-instant auction for that slot. Each slot...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Tiny Springs Improve Electronic Reliability

NASA Technology

Space exploration comes with many giant challenges, but some of them are downright tiny. One project to solve a connection issue in printed circuit boards has resulted...

NASA Technology

Once you’ve designed a robot that can autonomously explore planetary terrains, putting the same technology in cars, toys, and drones seems...

NASA Technology

At the top of the food chain, an apex predator hunts without fear of being hunted. That’s why MSC Software Corporation branded its latest software...

NASA Technology

NASA engineer Semion Kizhner spent an entire week trying to understand the Hilbert-Huang Transform with the colleague who had developed it, but...

NASA Technology

Earthquakes are among the most destructive natural disasters, in terms of death tolls and the cost of recovery. They’re also nearly impossible to predict, but...

NASA Technology

In the mid-1990s, NASA, the Air Force, and McDonnell Douglas Corporation realized they were duplicating each other’s efforts to make better software...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software Models Atmosphere for Spacecraft

NASA Technology

When the Curiosity rover made its spectacular landing on Mars, most of the attention was focused on the revolutionary “sky-crane maneuver” that helped slow the...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software Takes Cost Estimating to the Stars

NASA Technology

When imagining what it takes to design a spacecraft, few people think about the engineering work that goes into getting an accurate cost estimate before the building...

NASA Technology

Scientific experimentation is the central purpose of the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts work toward answers that will be crucial...

NASA Technology

The task of monitoring and diagnosing spacecraft health is getting out of hand.

NASA Technology

When you launch rockets, even the smallest deviation from design can create big problems—and they’re hard to fix for next time unless you know exactly what...

NASA Technology

The Orion crew capsule may resemble its Apollo ancestor on the surface, but all of its internal systems reflect nearly half a century of development since NASA’s...

NASA Technology

Traveling nearly five miles per second, the Space Shuttle began each reentry with nothing to slow it down but the air. The gasses rushing over its...

NASA Technology

Edward Freniere and a partner founded Lambda Research Corporation in 1992 with the idea of developing software to simulate the behavior of light, basing their...

NASA Technology

Normally, state-of-the-art technology comes at a cost. But when QuinStar Technology was subcontracted in 2009 to build a power amplifier for one of...

NASA Technology

Some 10,500 years ago, what is now western Oklahoma teemed in late summer and early fall with bison, traipsing through the grassy landscape. For the humans who...