Spinoff: Transportation
Comprehensive Software Eases Air Traffic Management

Gridlock, bottlenecks, bumper-to-bumper jams—we all get caught in congestion at one time or another, as the rigors of road traffic are an inevitable part of life. Sometimes we do our best to get ahead, taking advantage of the slightest opening in the next lane, in anticipation that it is...

Spinoff: Transportation
Modeling Tool Advances Rotorcraft Design

Often times, when people think of NASA, they think of space travel. The first "A" in NASA, however, is for "Aeronautics," and the Agency has always held as one of its tenets to explore, define, and solve issues in aircraft design. Just as often as NASA is associated with space travel, when people hear...

Spinoff: Transportation
Air Data Report Improves Flight Safety

Aviation is one of the safest means of transportation, but aviation safety professionals always work to make it safer. When flights operate outside of the norm, analysts perk up, as these flights are perhaps also operating outside the realm of safety. These out-of-the- ordinary flights, or atypicalities,...

Spinoff: Transportation
Advanced Airfoils Boost Helicopter Performance

Advanced rotorcraft airfoils developed by U.S. Army engineers working with NASA's Langley Research Center were part of the Army's risk reduction program for the LHX (Light Helicopter Experimental), the forerunner of the Comanche helicopter. The helicopter's airfoils were designed as part of the...

Spinoff: Transportation
Deicing System Protects General Aviation Aircraft

Ice accumulation is a serious safety hazard for aircraft. The presence of ice on airplane surfaces prevents the even flow of air, which increases drag and reduces lift. Ice on wings is especially dangerous during takeoff, when a sheet of ice the thickness of a compact disc can reduce lift by 25...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Chemical-Sensing Cables Detect Potential Threats

As fleets of aircraft age, corrosion of metal parts becomes a very real economic and safety concern. Corrosive agents like moisture, salt, and industrial fluids—and even internal problems, like leaks and condensation—wear away and, especially over time and repeated exposure, begin to...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Infrared Imaging Sharpens View in Critical Situations

The Microgravity Combustion Science group at NASA's Glenn Research Center studies how fire and combustible liquids and gasses behave in low-gravity conditions. This group, currently working as part of the Life Support and Habitation Branch under the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate,...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Plants Clean Air and Water for Indoor Environments

Although one of NASA's goals is to send people to the far reaches of our universe, it is still well known that people need Earth. We understand that humankind's existence relies on its complex relationship with this planet's environment—in particular, the regenerative qualities of Earth's...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Corrosive Gas Restores Artwork, Promises Myriad Applications

Short wavelength solar radiation in the space environment just outside of the Earth's atmosphere produces atomic oxygen. This gas reacts with spacecraft polymers, causing gradual oxidative thinning of the protective layers of orbiting objects, like satellites and the International...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Detailed Globes Enhance Education and Recreation

Earth from space—swirling wisps of white against a backdrop of deep azure, punctuated with brown and green swatches of land, all etched on one orb surrounded by black space, floating, seemingly isolated, but teeming with humanity and other forms of life. It is an iconic image, first captured...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Food Supplement Reduces Fat, Improves Flavor

During the Mercury missions, astronauts ate terrible food: freeze- dried powders and semi-liquids in aluminum tubes. Decades later, though, astronauts now have meals prepared by celebrity chefs and access to everyday items like shrimp cocktail, stir-fried chicken, and fettuccine alfredo. While the...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Additive Transforms Paint into Insulation

The heat generated by wind resistance and engine exhaust during the launch of a space shuttle is potentially damaging to the casings on the solid rocket boosters, which provide over two-thirds of the initial thrust needed to propel the spacecraft into orbit. To protect this important equipment, in the...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
New Lubricants Protect Machines and the Environment

The Mobile Launcher Platform at NASA's Kennedy Space Center is a two-story steel structure that provides a transportable launch base for the space shuttle. The main body of the platform is 160 feet long, 135 feet wide, and 25 feet high. When completely unloaded, the platform weighs about 8...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Advanced Systems Map, Monitor, and Manage Earth’s Resources

A "revolution in remote sensing" took place in the mid-1980s, when Dr. Alexander F.H. Goetz and his colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a powerful instrument called AVIRIS (Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer), according to Dr. Nicholas Short, author of...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Sensor Network Provides Environmental Data

The National Biocomputation Center is a joint partnership between the Stanford University School of Medicine's Department of Surgery and NASA's Ames Research Center. Founded in 1997, the goal of the Biocomputation Center has been to develop advanced technologies for medicine. Researchers at this center...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Voltage Controller Saves Energy, Prolongs Life of Motors

In the late 1970s, Frank Nola, an engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, had an idea for reducing energy waste in small induction motors. The idea, a method to electronically adjust the voltage in accordance with the motor's load, was patented in 1984. The voltage controllers...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Treatment Prevents Corrosion in Steel and Concrete Structures

NASA's Kennedy Space Center is located on prime beachfront property along the Atlantic coast of Florida on Cape Canaveral. While beautiful, this region presents several challenges, like temperamental coastal weather, lightning storms, and salty, corrosive, sea breezes assaulting...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Optics Program Simplifies Analysis and Design

Future spaceborne astronomy missions will require telescopes with increasingly greater power, driving the dimensions of the optics and their housing structures to significantly greater sizes.

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Hybrid Modeling Improves Health and Performance Monitoring

Scientists and engineers have long used computers to model physical systems. Physical modeling is a major part of design and development processes, as well as failure analysis. At NASA, scientists and engineers rely heavily on physical modeling to evaluate the overall health and...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Design Application Translates 2-D Graphics to 3-D Surfaces

When it comes to solving some of NASA’s most challenging technical problems, the mathematical minds that make up the Computational Sciences Branch at NASA’s Glenn Research Center are ready and waiting to crunch some numbers. Calculating complex algorithms and mathematical equations...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software Sharing Enables Smarter Content Management

As NASA’s leading organization for information sciences, the Intelligent Systems Division at Ames Research Center conducts world-class computational research to enable out-of-this-world capabilities. In particular, this division is dedicated to ushering in a new era of autonomous spacecraft...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Engineering Software Suite Validates System Design

Design errors are costly. When it comes to creating complex systems for aerospace design and testing system readiness, engineering system requirements must be clearly defined, and these systems need to be tested to ensure accuracy, consistency, and safety. Testing a system, however, can...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Open-Lattice Composite Design Strengthens Structures

NASA has invested considerable time and energy working with academia and private industry to develop new composite structures that are capable of standing up to the extreme conditions of space. Over time, such technology has evolved from traditional monocoque designs, in which the skin of a...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Ultra-Sensitive Photoreceiver Boosts Data Transmission

In June 2006, NASA scientists used extensive data transmitted from the Chandra X-ray Observatory deep space telescope to prove that up to 25 percent of the light illuminating the universe comes from the “massive crush of matter succumbing to the extreme gravity of black holes.”

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Micro Machining Enhances Precision Fabrication

In President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 State of the Union address, he announced plans for a U.S. space station, the equivalent of the Russian space station, Mir. This announcement set off a flurry of congressional funding debates, and it was not until 1988 that the President announced that a consensus...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Portable Hyperspectral Imaging Broadens Sensing Horizons

All objects reflect a certain amount of energy, even if it is just the electromagnetic energy created by the movement of electrically charged molecules. Measurements of these reflected energies, called spectra, can be used to create images of observed items and can thus serve to identify...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Hypersonic Composites Resist Extreme Heat and Stress

On October 14, 1947, Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager made history when he became the first pilot in an officially documented flight to ever break the sound barrier. Flying a Bell XS-1 test jet over the Mohave Desert, Yeager hit approximately 700 miles per hour, when a loud boom thundered...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Computational Modeling Develops Ultra-Hard Steel
Glenn Research Center’s Mechanical Components Branch routinely conducts research on transmissions and gearing for advanced gas turbines, promoting their safety, weight reduction, and reliability. The Mechanical Components Branch is staffed by both NASA and U.S. Army Research Laboratory employees,...
Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Thin, Light, Flexible Heaters Save Time and Energy

Ice accumulation is a serious safety hazard for aircraft. The presence of ice on airplane surfaces prevents the even flow of air, which increases drag and reduces lift. Ice on wings is especially dangerous during takeoff, when a sheet of ice the thickness of a compact disc can reduce lift by 25...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Novel Nanotube Manufacturing Streamlines Production

Nanotubes are sheets of graphite, one atom thick, rolled into seamless cylinders, with an exterior diameter in the range of nanometers. For a sense of perspective, if you were to split a human hair into 50,000 independent strands, a nanotube would be about the size of one of those strands.