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.

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
‘NASA Invention of the Year’ Controls Noise and Vibration

Developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center, the Macro-Fiber Composite (MFC) is an innovative, low-cost piezoelectric device designed for controlling vibration, noise, and deflections in composite structural beams and panels. It was created for use on helicopter blades and...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Thermoelectric Devices Advance Thermal Management

When NASA programs need the ultimate reliability to power deep space probes, they repeatedly select thermoelectric (TE) devices as a system component. TE devices heat, cool, and generate electricity when a temperature differential is provided between the two module faces. Using radioactive...

Spinoff: Health and Medicine
Ingestible Thermometer Pill Aids Athletes in Beating the Heat

From the football turf to high above the Earth, heat exhaustion is a life-threatening concern. Heat exhaustion, or hyperthermia, is an acute condition caused by excessive exposure to heat and dehydration. ...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Modern Exploration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

One of the forces that propels scientific and cultural advancement is exploration. The mission of NASA is to pioneer the future of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research. Through this...

Spinoff: Transportation
Damage-Tolerant Fan Casings for Jet Engines

All turbofan engines work on the same principle. A large fan at the front of the engine draws air in. A portion of the air enters the compressor, but a greater portion passes on the outside of the engine—this is called bypass air. The air that enters the compressor then passes through several...

Spinoff: Transportation
Steering Aircraft Clear of Choppy Air

On December 28, 1997, a United Airlines plane flying from Japan to Hawaii experienced severe turbulence while over the West Pacific Ocean. Over 100 individuals on this flight of 374 passengers and 19 flight crew members were injured during the encounter, one fatally. Investigative reports issued following...

Spinoff: Transportation
Advanced Air Data Systems for Commercial Aircraft

It is possible to get a crude estimate of wind speed and direction while driving a car at night in the rain, with the motion of the raindrop reflections in the headlights providing clues about the wind. The clues are difficult to interpret, though, because of the relative motions of ground, car,...

Spinoff: Transportation
NASA Helps Design the "Cockpit of the Future"

Langley Research Center conducts research in support of all of the aeronautics project at NASA. It continues to forge new frontiers in aviation research, as it has since 1917, when it was established as the Nation's first civilian aeronautics laboratory. Langley's mission and contributions to...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Water Vapor Sensors Go Sky-High to Assure Aircraft Safety

A laser diode is a semiconductor-based laser used to generate analog signals or digital pulses for transmission through optical fibers or through open air. In simpler terms, it is the type of laser that scans the barcode of a product to determine its price or reads the information stored...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Clean Water for Remote Locations

Water is indispensable for human health and well-being. A person cannot live for more than a few days without clean, drinkable water. It is, therefore, one of the most crucial provisions astronauts need to live and work in space, whether orbiting Earth, working at a lunar base, or traveling to Mars.