Space Foundation News

Life-Saving Innovations to be Inducted into Space Technology Hall of Fame

Written by: developer

Two potentially life-saving innovations will be the 2013 inductees into the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame®, which recognizes technologies originally developed for space applications that now improve life on Earth. The induction will be next month during the 29th National Space Symposium at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The inductees are:

  • GATR Inflatable Satellite Communication System, a portable, rapidly deployed, inflatable antenna that targets a geostationary satellite to establish critical communications links
  • Mediphan ultrasound technologies, compact low-power ultrasound devices that can be used as a diagnostic tool where large scanning equipment is impractical

Three events at the Space Symposium will honor the inductees on April 11:

  • The Space Technology Hall of Fame® Private Induction Ceremony, co-sponsored by Intelsat
  • The Space Technology Hall of Fame® Cocktail Reception, co-sponsored by Inmarsat
  • The Space Technology Hall of Fame® Dinner, which features dinner speaker Sigourney Weaver and is co-sponsored by SpaceX

The Private Induction Ceremony is by invitation only and the Reception and Dinner are open to all Space Symposium attendees.

GATR Inflatable Satellite Communication System

A public/private partnership between NASA Glenn Research Center and SRS Technologies (now ManTech International Technologies) created an extraordinary new product. The GATR Communication System is a portable, rapidly deployed, inflatable antenna that targets a geostationary satellite to establish critical communications for any mission scenario.

In 1997, SRS Technologies received a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to develop a solar concentrator for power generation. While developing an inflatable model, SRS researchers realized that a variant could be used for ground-based communications.

In 2004, GATR (Ground Antenna Transmit Receive) Technologies was formed to license and commercialize the spinoff for use on Earth and, in 2008, GATR delivered the world’s first inflatable antenna certified by the Federal Communications Commission.

Currently deployed in six of the seven continents, the GATR system has benefited people the world over by supporting a range of missions, including military, national security and natural disaster response, and providing high-bandwidth satellite communications in remote regions of the world.

Mediphan Ultrasound Technologies

This Canadian-based technology has its origins in the challenges of diagnosing medical issues in space, where traditional imaging devices, such as MRI and CAT Scan equipment, are too large, heavy and energy-dependent for practical use. Compact low-power ultrasound machines originally developed and tested as diagnostic tools for human space missions can also be used to serve communities where larger equipment is too expensive or difficult to deliver.

In 2000, NASA Johnson Space Center approached Dr. Scott Dulchavsky of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit to develop medical ultrasound remote diagnostic techniques for use by non-expert astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The goal was to create the basis for an operational telemedicine capability for future advanced space missions. He became lead investigator for the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM) experiment, a collaborative effort between Johnson Space Center, Henry Ford Hospital and Wyle Laboratories Inc. in Houston.

The small ultrasound devices were developed through the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM) experiment, which was flown on the ISS from 2003 to 2005.

Principal Investigator Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, chair of the Department of Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, led a team that trained the ISS astronauts to use remotely guided ultrasound to obtain a wide variety of diagnostic-quality medical images. Experts on the ground received images from the ISS through satellite downlink, demonstrating the effectiveness of ultrasound as a multipurpose, remote diagnostic tool. 

Pictured right, Astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao, right, uses portable ultrasound equipment to examine Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov’s eye onboard the ISS. 

The ADUM team then worked with Henry Ford Hospital, Wyle and Epiphan Systems Inc. to develop cost-effective, technologically viable methods for sending ultrasound scans over long distances on Earth without loss of image quality. The cooperation resulted in the formation of Mediphan, a remote medical diagnostics technology company based in Ottawa, which developed and commercialized two tools for terrestrial telemedicine use:

  • DistanceDocTM, an external video frame grabber that allows a remote ultrasound operator to transmit images securely over the Internet in real time and at near-original resolution
  • MedRecorderTM, a similar device that captures diagnostic-quality images and archives them for later reference

Using DistanceDoc or MedRecorder does not require special electronic wiring or cabling; the video streamed over the Internet can be accessed by technology ranging from lecture hall projectors to desktop workstations to personal digital assistants and smart phones.

Mediphan technologies enabled the cost-effective application of telemedicine solutions, created by Dulchavsky’s team and NASA for spaceflight to improve life on Earth, especially in developing countries around the world.

2013 Individual Inductees

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


  • Paul A. Gierow, P.E., president and chief executive officer, GATR Technologies
  • William R. Clayton, chief scientist, GATR Technologies
  • Robert Romanofsky, Ph.D., senior research engineer, NASA Glenn Research Center, Communications, Instruments and Controls Division
  • Kevin M. Lambert, Ph.D., senior research engineer, Vantage Partners, LLC

Mediphan/DistanceDoc and MedRecorder

  • Scott A. Dulchavsky, M.D., Ph.D., chairman and surgeon-in-chief, Henry Ford Hospital
  • Mike Sandler, president and chief executive officer, Epiphan Systems, Inc. & Mediphan, Inc.
  • Leroy Chiao, Ph.D., chemical engineer and former consulting NASA astronaut lead on technology (currently special advisor – human spaceflight, Space Foundation)

2013 Organizational Inductees

  • GATR Technologies
  • NASA Glenn Research Center 
  • Mediphan, Inc.
  • NASA Johnson Space

Also receiving special recognition is Wyle Laboratories, receiving a Commendation Award for contributions to technology training of astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

Judging Panel Comprises Space Leaders, Educators

The panel of judges who selected the 2013 Space Technology Hall of Fame inductees comprised:

  • Walter Peeters, president, International Space University
  • Andrea Jaime, executive director, Space Generation Advisory Council
  • Mary Ellen Weber, founder, Stellar Keynotes & Consulting and former NASA astronaut
  • Steven Kenney, associate, Toffler Associates
  • Amy Mainzer, Ph.D., research scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Richard Ambrose, deputy and vice president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems
  • Chummer Farina, vice president, Canadian Space Agency
  • Michael Simpson, Ph.D., executive director, Secure World Foundation
  • David Deigan, president and chief executive officer, Advanced Flexible Materials, Inc.

Space Technology Hall of Fame Celebrates 25th Anniversary

“The 2013 inductees will help us mark our 25th year of honoring those who bring space technology ‘down to Earth’ to benefit our lives in countless ways,” said Kevin Cook, director – space awareness programs for the Space Foundation. “We’ll commemorate this anniversary by issuing a new, redesigned Space Technology Hall of Fame medallion for inductees.”

The Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame was established to increase public awareness of the benefits that result from space exploration programs and to encourage further innovation. Since that time, 67 technologies have been inducted. Additional information about the Space Technology Hall of Fame, including a complete list of inducted technologies, is available here.

Nominate a Technology for 2014 Induction

The deadline to submit nominations for induction during 2014 will be Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Anyone may submit a nomination of a technology that was developed anywhere in the world for use in space and then modified or adopted for use on Earth. Nomination information, including online and downloadable nomination forms, is available here.

This article is part of Space Watch: March 2013 (Volume: 12, Issue: 3).