Space Awareness

Space Technology Hall of Fame® Inductees Honored

Written by: developer

Two extraordinary space-based innovations were recognized at the 28th National Space Symposium. Recognized first at the Space Technology Hall of Fame® Private Induction Ceremony, co-sponsored by CISCO Systems, and then at the Space Technology Hall of Fame® dinner, co-sponsored by SpaceX, were:

  • Flexible aerogel insulating material
  • High-resolution optical sensing fire detection system called FireWatch

Both technologies were originally developed for space applications and have now been modified for products and services used on Earth. Aerogels were developed for cryogenic applications in rocket engine test stands, launch vehicles and life support systems. Optical detections systems were developed for analyzing comet gas and particle emissions.

Also recognized are individuals and organizations for their roles in developing and adapting the technologies for commercial use.

Flexible Aerogels

Innovating Organizations for flexible aerogels:

  • Aspen Aerogels, Inc., Northborough, Mass.
  • Aspen Systems, Inc., Marlborough, Mass.
  • NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Innovating Individuals for flexible aerogels:

  • James E. Fesmire, senior principal investigator, NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Dr. George L. Gould, vice president - research and development, Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
  • Dr. Kang P. Lee, president & chief executive officer, Aspen Systems, Inc.
  • Dr. Jae Ryu, director - advanced technology, Agiltron, Inc.

Pictured, right: Gould, Fesmire, Lee


Innovating Organizations for FireWatch:

  • The German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany
  • IQ Wireless, GmbH, Berlin, Germany

Innovating Individuals for FireWatch:

  • Thomas Behnke, development and system engineer, Planetary Sensor Systems, DLR, Institute of Planetary Research
  • Prof. Dr. Herbert Jahn, senior scientist, Department of Optical Information Systems, DLR, Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics
  • Dr. Joerg Knollenberg, scientific staff member, DLR Institute of Planetary Research
  • Dr. Ekkehard Kuehrt, Asteroids and Comets department head, DLR Institute of Planetary Research
Pictured, above right: Kuehrt, Jahn, Behnke
Gala Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner Honors Inductees

The master of ceremonies for the dinner was Lon Levin, president, SkySevenVentures, the corporate host was Gwynne Shotwell, president, SpaceX, and the featured speaker was Mark Stevenson, innovation expert and author of An Optimist's Tour of the Future.

The Space Foundation established the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 1988 to increase public awareness of the benefits that result from space exploration programs and to encourage further innovation. Additional information about the Space Technology Hall of Fame®, including a complete list of inducted technologies, is available at

The Space Technology Hall of Fame® honors those who transform technology originally developed for space exploration into products that help improve the quality of life here on Earth. Induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame® affords space innovators much deserved recognition, increases public awareness and encourages further innovation.

To read about the inductees, click here. To see photos of the induction ceremony and awards dinner, click here.

This article is part of Space Watch: May 2012 (Volume: 11, Issue: 5).