National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Shu tt l e Spinoffs
Space technology benefits you every day in a variety of ways. Since 1976, over 1,600 documented NASA technologies have
benefited U.S. industry, improved our quality of life, and created jobs. The Space Shuttle Program alone has generated more
than 100 technology spinoffs. Some of the shuttle’s contributions are:
Artificial Heart: Green Lubricants:
More than 200 patients received a second chance Sporting equipment and cars
at life with tiny heart pumps developed from space are kinder to the environment
shuttle fuel pump technology. Just 1 inch in diameter with NASA’s high-performance,
and weighing less than 4 ounces, the miniaturized biodegradable lubricants developed
ventricular assist pumps were developed by NASA for the enormous crawlers that move
and renowned heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey. the space shuttles to and from the
launch pads in Florida.
Rescue Tool: Firefighting Infrared Camera:
Rescue squads use a new hand-held cutter to remove Firefighters locate hot spots in
accident victims from wrecked vehicles. Based on a wildfires by scanning the flames
miniature version of the explosive charges used to with this sensitive infrared hand-held
separate the shuttle from the solid rocket boosters camera, first used by NASA to observe
after launch, this device requires no auxiliary power the blazing plumes from shuttles.
or cumbersome hoses, and it costs 70% less than
previous rescue equipment.
Life-Saving Light: Home Insulation:
Children suffering from brain tumors may Homeowners are insulating their
receive relief from lighting technology homes with the same lightweight,
originally developed for space shuttle flexible aerogel NASA uses to
plant experiments. Doctors at the Medical insulate cryogenics on space shuttles.
College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee are The insulation is many times thinner
studying the ability of these light-emitting and more effective than standard
diodes to kill cancerous tumors in a process fiberglass insulation, yet can be
called photodynamic therapy. handled and installed with the same
Automotive Insulation: Prosthesis Material:
NASCAR racecars shield drivers from Foam insulation used to protect the
extreme engine heat using materials shuttle’s external tank is now available
from the same thermal protection system to produce master molds for prosthetics.
used to safeguard NASA astronauts Replacing heavy, fragile plaster, this new
onboard the space shuttle. Their lives material is light, virtually indestructible,
depend on it. and easy to ship and store.
Land Mine Removal Device: Video Stabilization Software:
The same rocket fuel used to propel the When law enforcement officials
space shuttle skyward helps save lives on needed help clarifying crime-scene
Earth by destroying land mines. Created video, NASA assisted with high-tech
from leftover fuel donated by NASA, image processing technology used to
an explosive flare is placed next to the analyze space shuttle launch video.
uncovered land mine, then ignited from This software removes defects due
a safe distance using a battery-triggered to image jitter, rotation, and zoom
electric match. The explosive burns in video sequences, and may also be
away, disabling the mine and rendering useful for medical imaging, scientific
it harmless. applications, and home video.
For more information about NASA spinoffs, please visit spinoff.nasa.gov.