NASA Spinoff

Transportation

NASA Technology

NASA has been planning for a water-powered rocket engine since the Agency’s early years. After all, water is made of hydrogen and oxygen, which have been powering...

NASA Technology

Even after almost 150 years of wind tunnel testing, no commercial product had ever been able to directly measure the localized force that...

NASA Technology

A spacecraft hovers over the gray, cratered moonscape, scanning for its landing spot, and then, in a blaze of rocket fire that kicks up a massive cloud of dust, the...

NASA Technology

More than ever, day-to-day life on Earth depends on the growing number of satellites in orbit used for communications, navigation, tracking, science,...

NASA Technology

Lasers designed to help a lunar spacecraft land on a proverbial dime might help self-driving cars navigate rush hour traffic on this planet. The path from the Moon to...

NASA Technology

Few people will ever pass a rocket on the freeway, but anyone could soon see the “gas tank” of a liquid propulsion engine outside the passenger window....

NASA Technology

The skies are on the brink of major change. The number of U.S. aircraft flying through the national airspace is likely to multiply many times...

NASA Technology

Picture an airplane. What you imagine is probably what most commercial airliners look like, a design that has been improved and tweaked—but not really...

NASA Technology

A new approach to characterizing high-speed turbulence in wind and fluid flows is on track to become the standard for wind tunnel measurements—and...

NASA Technology

When Aloha Airlines Flight 243 made an emergency landing on Maui in April 1988, much of its upper fuselage was missing, leaving passengers entirely...

NASA Technology

When aerogels were first invented in the 1930s, nobody had much use for them. And yet, nearly a century later, these materials could become as...

NASA Technology

The X-planes, experimental aircraft built by NASA and the military, started out by breaking the sound barrier in 1947 and have been pushing through invisible...

NASA Technology

Do you know what time it is?

NASA Technology

How many people can think of a time when they got to their destination only to realize one of their car tires was dangerously low on air? Or they heard an ominous...

NASA Technology

When Malaysia Air Flight 370 disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean in 2014, it had flown far beyond radar range. Under a new space-based air tracking system, no...

NASA Technology

Nearly 20 years ago, Pieter Buning was in the early stages of his career with NASA, working on an interactive graphics program called Plot3D. “Life...

NASA Technology

These days computers handle a lot of the work for designing an airplane, but when it comes to seeing how well the new design will really handle in...

NASA Technology

In the late 1990s, as computers were becoming vastly more powerful, Stuart Rogers began working on Pegasus 5—software that made use of this...

NASA Technology

At a time when cell phones and automobile features are outdated after a few short years, it may seem impossible that any technology would...

NASA Technology

Ethernet computer networks date back to the 1970s and are now used virtually everywhere, including in space. Inexpensive, ubiquitous, and easy to use,...

NASA Technology

It wasn’t Walt Silva’s job to invent a technique to dramatically speed up computational modeling of aircraft. But the NASA researcher did it...

NASA Technology

Facilities for mechanical loads testing of aircraft and spacecraft are often jungles of cables, wiring, and hoses.

NASA Technology

Life on Earth is surrounded by, and dependent on, carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants need it for photosynthesis; people and animals exhale it; industry and...

NASA Technology

No human venture into space is a success until craft and crew have safely returned to Earth.

NASA Technology

Sukra Helitek Inc.’s simplified, user-friendly computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software package began with Ganesh Rajagopalan essentially trying...

NASA Technology

It’s been more than 70 years since an airplane first broke the sound barrier, and yet supersonic flights remain mostly out of reach for civilian passengers, in large...

Born out of a desire for aircraft to be able to take off and land capably at airports with shorter runways to alleviate congestion at the major hubs, the circulation control wing...

NASA Technology

The old saying about the inability to build a better mousetrap could also apply to aircraft design tools. For years, the best, and maybe only, way to...

NASA Technology

Consider any component of a modern passenger airplane, and you’ll discover a remarkable amount of engineering complexity that went into its...

NASA Technology

In June of 1991, Japanese scientist Sumio Iijima had been studying fullerenes, man-made molecules made up entirely of carbon, when he discovered under an...