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Space Technology Hall of Fame

Inducted Technologies

The Space Technology Hall of Fame® comprises many extraordinary innovations - all derived from or significantly improved by space research or exploration. Learn about the inducted technologies and the innovators here. You can scroll through all the years or find something specific using the handy search bar above. 

To nominate a technology, please download our Official Nomination Form or visit our Nominate a Technology page to learn more about the Space Technology Hall of Fame® selection criteria.

1999

Proper heart rhythms can often be reestablished by the sudden discharge of stored energy in this pulsed-power device which uses a capacitor originally developed for space-based lasers and accelerators. In the mid-1980's, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) funded a company now named Maxwell Technologies to develop a high energy-density thin-film capacitor - a device that stores and discharges energy. Since then, derivatives of this technology are being applied in pulsed-power devices to purify water, sterilize medical products, preserve food, and power heart defibrillators.  At...
About one decade ago, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), then the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, funded Silicon Designs to develop radiation-hardened accelerometers for kinetic energy vehicles to measure the change in velocity resulting from rocket motor firings that occur while changing trajectory. Smaller than a person's thumbnail, these devices have very low power requirements and can operate over a wide temperature range and after being exposed to space radiation for long periods of time.  The accelerometer contains two major components: a micro-electro-...

1998

The Global Positioning System (GPS) program began in 1973 when the U.S. military services and the Defense Mapping Agency combined resources to develop a highly accurate space-based navigation system. Functions not originally envisioned, such as communications system synchronization, search and rescue, precision approaches and landings, and GPS-assisted munitions, have come into common usage within the military community. GPS is managed by the NAVSTAR GPS Joint Program Office at the Space and Missile Systems Center near Los Angeles.  This multinational organization develops, acquires, and...
A NASA research program aimed at improving crash protection for airplane passengers gave impetus to the development of a cushioning material that is now used in Space Shuttle seats as well as in many commercial applications. With the idea of developing a new airline seat to provide better impact protection and comfort during long flights, NASA Ames Research Center developed an open-cell polyurethane-silicon plastic foam that takes the shape of impressed objects but returns to its original shape even after 90 percent compression. There is no shock or bounce on sudden impact; a three-inch foam...

1997

With an ever-increasing market for satellite generated information, new advanced satellite communications methods for transmitting tremendous amounts of information are needed. NASA ascertained that an all-digital, gigabit-capacity communications system was necessary to handle the growing demand and produced the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS).  Launched in 1993, the satellite uses advanced on-board switching and processing technology that permit on-demand allocation of satellite channels and reuse of bandwidth. ACTS also features significant capacity gain through the use...
The ability to see faint objects, such as distant galaxies, is a critical element of the Hubble Space Telescope's mission. NASA researchers found that available technology could not meet Hubble's stringent requirements. A joint development effort between NASA and Scientific Imaging Technologies, Inc. (SITe) developed a new charged coupled device technology fulfilling the rigorous needs. The new technology was ideal for application to breast cancer detection because of common requirements between space and medical imaging, such as high resolution to see fine details, wide dynamic range and low...

1996

One of the potential hazards confronted by astronauts is the shifting of bodily fluids that occur as a result of changing gravity levels. During the Apollo program, NASA's Ames Research Center began conducting research on the use of pilot `anti-G` suits for possible astronaut use. These anti-G suits were developed for pilots of high-performance aircraft who experienced rapid gravity changes.  A key component of the suits is trousers that contain pneumatic bladders to counteract the fluid shifts. The development efforts of the Ames researchers successfully produced protection suits that have...
One of the tragedies of the early space program was a fire that occurred in an Apollo module causing the deaths of three astronauts. On investigation of the fire, it was found that some of the materials utilized in the spacecraft, such as polyurethane foam in seats, were highly flammable. NASA initiated an extensive research program to develop new flame resistant materials and/or ways to reduce the flammability of existing materials. Research on the flammability of polymers indicated that many of these materials could be protected from direct ignition by the use of a coating of fire-...
Spacecraft are subject to temperature extremes that range from 400° F above zero to 400° below zero. Protecting astronauts from these extreme temperatures was a prime concern for NASA spacecraft designers. NASA researchers sought after a temperature control technology for the Apollo spacecraft that would provide a barrier which was both lightweight and flexible and had sufficient durability to withstand the rigors of space. After considerable effort, a process technology was developed that permitted producing plastic films coated with a thin layer of aluminum. These thin ?etallized?plastics...

1995

NASA has had requirements for anti-corrosion coating for use in many space-related applications. For example, one need was for a superior coating to protect gantries and other related launch structures at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. At coastal facilities where external structures are subject to the corrosive effects of ocean spray and fog, an effective anti-corrosion coating was important to protect the valuable hardware and substantially reduce maintenance costs. At KSC, an acceptable coating also had to be able to withstand the extremely hot exhaust and thermal shock...

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