NASA Spinoff

Transportation

NASA Technology

There’s some wizardry involved in sending a rocket or other spacecraft beyond the oppressive reach of Earth’s gravity. Long before the first...

NASA Technology

Since its founding in 1958, NASA has made profound contributions to aviation, including advancing our understanding of flight mechanics—the...

NASA Technology

To permit safe and reliable aircraft navigation over North America using the Global Positioning System (GPS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed the...

NASA Technology

Just 12 years after the Wright brothers became the first to take to the skies in a powered airplane, in 1915 Congress established the National Advisory...

NASA Technology

By the time he was visiting what is now known as Armstrong Flight Research Center to witness the first tests of his latest creation, Richard T....

NASA Technology

Typical cruising altitudes for business and commercial aircraft are up to 50,000 feet or more. At such altitudes, the oxygen concentrations in the air are much...

NASA Technology

In the beginning, safety trumped comfort in spacecraft designs for human space travel. Mihriban Whitmore, a manager in the Human Research Program at NASA’s Johnson...

NASA Technology

When an aircraft experiences catastrophic failure, it’s not difficult to tell that something has gone wrong. But even if an airplane reaches its destination...

NASA Technology

James M. Patton Jr. completed a whopping 8,000 spin turns throughout his career at NASA. As a research pilot at Langley Research Center, Patton and his...

NASA Technology

Comets are beautiful, and apparently it’s a youthful kind of beauty, because they look about the same from the time they were born. Often referred to as dirty...

NASA Technology

It was Henry Ford who said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Following such an adage,...

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...

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...

Spinoff: Transportation
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...

NASA Technology

“Alpha, Golf, November, Echo, Zulu.” “Sierra, Alpha, Golf, Echo, Sierra.” “Lima, Hotel, Yankee.”

It looks like some strange word game, but the...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

NASA Technology

In 1961, not long after NASA received the imperative from President John F. Kennedy to land a man on the Moon within the decade, then-NASA administrator...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

The next time you blow out a candle, watch how the smoke behaves. You will see that it rises first in an even stream. At a certain point,...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Every time a jet engine is started, it goes through a thermal cycle of extreme temperatures, reaching as high as 2,700 °F within the...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Try describing the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS), and you will inevitably end up rattling off a series of large numbers. There are...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Given the eye-catching nature of space shuttle launches, deep-space imagery, and Mars exploration, it can be easy to forget NASA’s...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

In the late 1970s, general aviation (GA) in the United States was experiencing its heyday. In 1978, as many as 18,000 GA aircraft...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

From the myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the Sun on wings made of wax, to the designs Leonardo da Vinci drew of flying machines that...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Anyone who has made a paper airplane knows that folding the wingtips upward makes your plane look better and fly farther, though the reasons...

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...