Two Technologies Inducted into Hall of Fame

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

 Two diverse technologies will be inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame® at the Space Foundation's 27th National Space Symposium at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Commercial Earth-Imaging Satellites, which have broad-reaching applications for national security, logistics and disaster prevention and relief, and Intrifuge CellXpansion technology, which promises help for a wide variety of diseases, will be recognized at a private induction ceremony and at the Space Technology Hall of Fame® dinner at the 27th National Space Symposium on April 14. The private induction ceremony is co-sponsored by Cisco Systems, Inc., and the Space Technology Hall of Fame® dinner, featuring speaker P.J. O'Rourke, is co-sponsored by SpaceX.

The Space Technology Hall of Fame® honors innovations by organizations and individuals who transform space technology into commercial products that improve life on Earth.

Commercial Earth-Imaging Satellites
Geospatial technology using Earth-imaging satellites has reshaped our view of the world, improving national security, logistics and navigation, mapping, disease and natural disaster tracking and a myriad of other applications. Featuring highly accurate cameras on satellites positioned in orbit above the Earth, the commercial earth-imaging business grew out of Cold War military applications for reconnaissance missions that photographed classified military installations. Today, commercial satellite imagery providers serve worldwide demand for measuring and monitoring the Earth for security, emergency response, environmental assessment, natural resources, real-estate and news purposes. Applications include agriculture, geology, forestry, biodiversity conservation, regional planning, education, intelligence, cartography, seismology and oceanography, including predicting and monitoring earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, droughts and pandemics.

"Satellite imagery protects and improves the lives of millions of people every day - from something as simple as providing a weather forecast or creating an accurate map to preventing or diminishing the effects of a natural or manmade disaster," said Space Foundation Director - Space Awareness Kevin Cook. "And, yet, most people are unaware of how much they depend upon Earth-imaging to live safely and productively."

The 2011 Space Technology Hall of Fame® inductees for commercial Earth-imaging satellites are two companies that successfully adapted the technology and made it viable commercially: GeoEye, Inc., which is based in the Washington, D.C., area, and DigitalGlobe, Inc., which is based in Longmont, Colo.

Intrifuge CellXpansion
For decades, medical researchers have taken advantage of the unique aspects of microgravity to develop or grow materials that cannot be made on Earth. For example, cell cultures grown on Earth are only two-dimensional because gravity causes the cells to sink within their growth medium, whereas normal cells grow three-dimensionally in the body. In the 1980s, NASA researchers developed a device called the "rotating wall bioreactor" to grow human cells in simulated weightlessness.

Today, the bioreactor device is manufactured for commercial sale by Synthecon, Inc. This technology uses a rotating chamber to rapidly cultivate three-dimensional tissues that closely approximate those in the human body. On Earth, this technology provides a fast, affordable source of cells for therapy and research. In space, the output is even faster and more precise.

In 2002, Regenetech, Inc., focused on modifications to the bioreactor to produce its own Intrifuge System so it could produce expanded cell tissues for specific research. Regenetech, through a special NASA agreement, affordably provides the technology to researchers pursuing rare disease treatments.

Regenetech uses its Intrifuge Systemand intellectual property known as CellXpansion to develop a range of therapies and conduct further research. This technology promises help for a wide variety of conditions, including cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, skin ailments and orthopedic applications.

"There are hundreds of examples of space technology that have been adapted to save lives by preventing or curing diseases," said Cook. "The Intrifuge CellXpansion technology is extraordinary because it has wide applications and because it is made available where research would not or could not be done."

The 2011 Space Technology Hall of Fame® organizational inductees are the organizations that developed the technology and refined it for commercial use: NASA Johnson Space Center, Regenetech, Inc., and Synthecon, Inc. All three are based in Houston, Texas.

The following individuals are also being inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame®:

  • Ray Schwarz, chief engineer and co-founder, Synthecon
  • Tinh Trinh, senior mechanical engineer, NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Dr. David Wolf, NASA Astronaut, chief engineer and consultant to Regenetech

In addition to the inductions, the Space Foundation is also giving individual commendations to:

  • Kyle Shanks, president and co-founder, Regenetech
  • Glen T. Odom, director, corporate secretary and co-founder, Regenetech
  • H. Lee Murphy III, vice president and co-founder, Regenetech
  • Charles D. Anderson, chairman, Synthecon
  • William J. Anderson, president and chief executive officer, Synthecon

About the Judges
The panel of judges who selected the 2011 Space Technology Hall of Fame® inductees comprised:

  • Ariane Cornell, executive director, Space Generation Advisory Council
  • Maj. Gen. Robert Dickman, USAF (Retired), executive director, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Lt. Gen. Michael A. Hamel, USAF (Retired), senior vice president of corporate strategy and development, Orbital Sciences Corporation
  • Dan Lockney, editor, NASA's Spinoff magazine
  • Mike Mason, director of marketing, Tempur-Pedic North America, Inc.
  • Mike Poore, deputy superintendent, Colorado Springs School District 11
  • Dorin Prunariu, chairman, UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
  • Jeanne Unemori Skog, president and chief executive officer, Maui Economic Development Board, Inc.
  • Jeff Trauberman, vice president, business development, The Boeing Company
  • Philippe Willekens, executive director, International Astronautical Federation

About the Award
The Space Technology Hall of Fame® was created in 1988 by the Space Foundation, in cooperation with NASA, to increase public awareness of the benefits resulting from space exploration programs and to encourage further innovation. To date, the Space Foundation has inducted 63 technologies as well as honoring the organizations and individuals who transformed space technology into commercial products that improve the quality of life for all humanity.

About the 27th National Space Symposium
The annual Space Foundation National Space Symposium brings together all sectors of space to highlight accomplishments and address opportunities and issues facing the global space community today.

For online registration and more information, including agenda, speakers and exhibitors, click here.

This article is part of Space Watch: April 2011 (Volume: 10, Issue: 4).