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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.

2001

Product identification technology pioneered by NASA for tracking Space Shuttle parts is being used to mark everything from groceries to automobile parts.The application of compressed symbology, a two-dimensional symbol marking system to parts marking was developed at the Marshall Space Flight Center for the Space Shuttle Program, where millions and millions of parts, some as small as a dime, must be tracked.  Bar coding works well however it requires labels which don't survive in space and other industrial conditions on earth. In the late 1980's Fred Schramm was tasked with producing a system...
Understanding climate changes and the parameters influencing the climate is very important. Infrared imaging is an important technology for gathering useful information however, prior to 1990, no photodetector arrays had been fabricated that would operate at infrared wavelengths necessary for detecting these changes in ecosystems. In a unique collaboration between the Goddard Space Flight Center, and ATT/Bell Labs the first quantum well photodetector array capable of operating in the far infrared was developed and incorporated into a camera system that successfully performed airborne imaging...
Dr. David Hathaway and Paul Meyer of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center have worked on several criminal cases with the police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Hathaway, a solar physicist is usually busy studying images of violent explosions on the Sun and Meyer, an atmospheric scientist, examines hazardous weather conditions on Earth. The scientist's foray into the world of forensics began when they helped the FBI analyze video of the bombing at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta. Hathaway and Meyer successfully clarified videotape images made with handheld camcorders,...

2000

In the mid 1990s NASA discovered an environmental problem with the material that was being used to lubricate the massive track system on the shuttle mobile launch transporter. Not surprisingly the lubricant requirements are rather extraordinary for this transporter. The product has to provide long-lasting and complete lubrication for a moving set of tracks that are carrying a 12 million pound load. To satisfy the environmental requirement it also has to be biodegradable. In 1994, the challenge of producing a new lubricant was accepted by Sun Coast Chemicals of Daytona, which brought a team of...
A few decades ago visionaries at Hughes Electronics Corporation believed that it should be possible to produce a digitally-based, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) that would provide services directly to home consumers. This idea was based upon a perceived growing market and the technology and know-how the corporation had from developing satellites for military and telecommunications customers. Various innovators within Hughes pursued the concept and in 1984 Hughes received permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to construct a direct broadcast satellite. Hughes invested $...
One of NASA's life science research goals is to better understand plant growth in microgravity. NASA found that it was difficult to use traditional plant growth light sources in space because they require considerable power and turn much of it into heat. This means that the experimental system has to have good controls to eliminate temperature variance that could affect plant growth results. The Wisconsin Center for Space Automation & Robotics proposed using light emitting diodes (LEDs) as the photon source for plant growth experiments conducted in space. This idea generated considerable...

1999

Since the 1970's when charged coupled devices (CCD's) were first developed, camera and video companies have been seeking to improve the technology. CCD's provide good image quality, but they are expensive, power hungry, and with the required accessory chips, bulky. Recognizing the shortcomings of CCD technology, and with the continuing need for lightweight imaging systems especially for interplanetary spacecraft applications, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) began research on a second-generation solid state image sensor technology. In late 1992 that research produced the complementary...
Based on turbine technology developed for use in liquid propellant rocket engines, this specially designed small, lightweight, high speed turbine pumps blood without damage to the delicate, individual blood cells. A joint effort beginning in 1988 between NASA and a group of doctors headed by Dr. Michael DeBakey led to development of this Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), a small, efficient axial flow blood pump.  In order to develop the high performance required of the liquid propellant Space Shuttle main engines, NASA pushed the state of the art in the technology of turbopump design. Using...
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-...

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