Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Cryogenic Cooling for Myriad Applications—A STAR Is Born!

Cryogenics, the science of generating extremely low temperatures, has wide applicability throughout NASA. The Agency employs cryogenics for rocket propulsion, high-pressure gas supply, breathable air in space, life support equipment, electricity, water, food preservation and packaging,...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Temperature Sensing for Oil, Gas, and Structural Analysis

With retirement of the space shuttle imminent, and the commercial space industry burgeoning, NASA is searching for safe and innovative methods for carrying payload and passengers to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The search for new vehicles has been going on for some years now, with a...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Robust, Thin Optical Films for Extreme Environments

The environment of space presents scientists and engineers with the challenges of a harsh, unforgiving laboratory in which to conduct their scientific research. Solar astronomy and X-ray astronomy are two of the more challenging areas into which NASA scientists delve, as the optics for this...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
The Cutting Edge of High-Temperature Composites

NASA’s Ultra-Efficient Engine Technology (UEET) program was formed in 1999 at Glenn Research Center to manage an important national propulsion program for the Space Agency. The UEET program’s focus is on developing innovative technologies to enable intelligent, environmentally friendly, and...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Nano Goes Magnetic to Attract Big Business

Glenn Research Center has combined state-of-the-art electrical designs with complex, computer-aided analyses to develop some of today’s most advanced power systems, in space and on Earth. The center’s Power and On-Board Propulsion Technology Division is the brain behind many of these power systems....

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Laser Mapping for Visual Inspection and Measurement

Each space shuttle orbiter has 38 Primary Reaction Control System (PRCS) thrusters to help power and position the vehicle for maneuvers in space, including reentry and establishing Earth orbit. Minor flaws in the ceramic lining of a thruster, such as a chip or crack, can cripple the operations...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Electrical Conductivity in Textiles

Copper is the most widely used electrical conductor. Like most metals, though, it has several drawbacks: it is heavy, expensive, and can break. Fibers that conduct electricity could be the solutions to these problems, and they are of great interest to NASA.

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Spatial Phase Imaging

In 1928, Alexander Fleming, a young Scottish scientist with a side practice of discretely treating the syphilis infections of prominent Londoners, was researching agents that could be used to combat such bacterial infections. He left his practice for a 2-week vacation, inadvertently leaving several bacterial culture plates...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Miniature Wireless Sensors Size Up to Big Applications

Like the environment of space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live. But far beneath the waves near Key Largo, Florida, an underwater laboratory called Aquarius provides a safe harbor for scientists to live and work for weeks at a time.

Spinoff: Health and Medicine
Space-Proven Medical Monitor: The Total Patient-Care Package

By mid-1963, American astronauts had visited space on six different occasions, all as part of NASA’s first human space flight program, the Mercury Program . During the final Mercury mission, launched on May 15, 1963, astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper logged 34 hours in orbit, the longest...

Spinoff: Health and Medicine
From Planetary Imaging to Enzyme Screening

To work in NASA’s Mission Control Center and share in the excitement of seeing the very first close-up images of Saturn being piped back to Earth (from the Pioneer 11 spacecraft in 1979) is not a sensation that most high school students get to experience. However, as part of an internship in ...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
The Echoes of Earth Science

NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) acquires, archives, and manages data from all of NASA’s Earth science satellites, for the benefit of the Space Agency and...

Spinoff: Public Safety
All-Terrain Intelligent Robot Braves Battlefront to Save Lives

As NASA's lead center for creating robotic spacecraft and rovers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) builds smart machines that can perform very complicated task far, far away from the homeland.

Spinoff: Public Safety
Keeping the Air Clean and Safe—An Anthrax Smoke Detector

Scientists at work in the Planetary Protection division at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) sterilize everything before blasting it to the Red Planet. They take great pains to ensure that all spacecraft are void of bacterial life, especially the microscopic bacteria that can...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Lightning Often Strikes Twice

Contrary to popular misconception, lightning often strikes the same place twice. Certain conditions are just ripe for a bolt of electricity to come zapping down; and a lightning strike is powerful enough to do a lot of damage wherever it hits. NASA created the Accurate Location of Lightning Strikes technology to...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Technology That's Ready and Able to Inspect Those Cables

Attempting to locate a malfunctioning wire in a complex bundle of wires or in a cable that is concealed behind a wall is as difficult as trying to find a needle in a haystack. The result of such an effort can also be costly, time-consuming, and frustrating, whether it is the tedious...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Secure Networks for First Responders and Special Forces

When NASA needed help better securing its communications with orbiting satellites, the Agency called on Western DataCom Co., Inc., to help develop a prototype Internet Protocol (IP) router.

Spinoff: Transportation
Hydrogen Sensors Boost Hybrids; Today's Models Losing Gas?

Advanced chemical sensors are used in aeronautic and space applications to provide safety monitoring, emission monitoring, and fire detection. In order to fully do their jobs, these sensors must be able to operate in a range of environments. NASA has developed sensor technologies...

Spinoff: Transportation
3-D Highway in the Sky

If it were 50 years ago, NASA's contribution to rock and roll could have been more than just the all-astronaut rock band, Max Q, composed of six NASA astronauts, all of whom have flown aboard the Space Shuttle. If it were 50 years ago, a new NASA spinoff technology, Synthetic Vision, would likely have been able to prevent...

Spinoff: Transportation
Popping a Hole in High-Speed Pursuits

NASA's Plum Brook Station, a 6,400-acre, remote test installation site for Glenn Research Center, houses unique, world-class test facilities, including the world's largest space environment simulation chamber and the world's only laboratory capable of full-scale rocket engine firings and launch vehicle...

Spinoff: Transportation
Monitoring Wake Vortices for More Efficient Airports

Wake vortices are generated by all aircraft during flight. The larger the aircraft, the stronger the wake, so the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) separates aircraft to ensure wake turbulence has no effect on approaching aircraft. Currently, though, the time between planes is often larger...

Spinoff: Transportation
From Rockets to Racecars

NASA's Langley Research Center scientists developed a family of catalysts for low- temperature oxidation of carbon monoxide and other gases. The catalysts provide oxidation of both carbon monoxide and formaldehyde at room temperature without requiring any energy input, just a suitable flow of gas through them.

Spinoff: Health and Medicine
Lighting the Way for Quicker, Safer Healing

Who's to say that a little light can't go a long way? Tiny light-emitting diode (LED) chips used to grow plants in space are lighting the way for cancer treatment, wound healing, and chronic pain alleviation on Earth.

Spinoff: Health and Medicine
Discovering New Drugs on the Cellular Level

With the Vision for Space Exploration calling for a sustained human presence in space, astronauts will need to grow plants, while in orbit, for nourishment that they will not receive from only consuming dehydrated foods. As a potential source of food for long-duration missions, space-grown plants could...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Space Suit Spins

Space is a hostile environment where astronauts combat extreme temperatures, dangerous radiation, and a near-breathless vacuum. Life support in these unforgiving circumstances is crucial and complex, and failure is not an option for the devices meant to keep astronauts safe in an environment that presents constant opposition. A...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Cooking Dinner at Home From the Office

It is well past quitting time, but you are still stuck in the office. Your spouse left work over an hour ago, but is caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As a result, neither of you were available to pick up your daughter on time from her soccer game. If your son hadn't gotten detention at school today which...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Nanoscale Materials Make for Large-Scale Applications

Since its dawning days, NASA has been at the forefront of developing and improving materials for aerospace applications. In particular, NASA requires dramatic advancements in material properties to enhance the performance, robustness, and reliability of its launch vehicles, spacecraft, and...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
NASA's Growing Commitment: The Space Garden

Astronauts cannot live on dehydrated ice cream alone. Like everyone else, they need their vegetables. Enter VEGGIE, the Deployable Vegetable System, currently under development by Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC). VEGGIE is the latest in a long line of vegetable production units ORBITEC is...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Bringing Thunder and Lightning Indoors

Piezoelectric materials convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and electrical energy into mechanical energy. They generate electrical charges in response to mechanical stress and generate mechanical displacement and/or force when subjected to an electric current.

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Forty-Year-Old Foam Springs Back With New Benefits

The most recognized and widely used NASA spinoff is at it again. Temper foam, whose origins date back to 1966 when it was developed to absorb shock and, thus, offer improved protection and comfort in NASA's airplane seats, has paid its dividends to Earth repeatedly, and in many different ways....