Space Foundation Press Releases

Data Transmission Technology and Interim Resistive Exercise Device are 2019 Space Technology Hall of Fame Inductees

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 25, 2019) – The Space Foundation’s 35th Space Symposium will celebrate the induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame® of two innovations developed for space that now improve life on Earth.


The 2019 inductees are:

  • Ka-Band Software-Defined Radio (SDR)/Harris AppSTAR™ Architecture
  • SpiraFlex Interim Resistive Exercise Device (iRED) 

The induction ceremonies will be held during the 35th Space Symposium, to be held April 8 -11 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA.


About Ka-Band Software-Defined Radio (SDR)/Harris AppSTAR™ Architecture

Communication devices, such as smart phones and radios, rely on electromagnetic spectrum, particularly the “S-band” portion to transmit data. Given the growing use of these technologies, the S-band has become congested with many users. This is a challenge for space missions especially given the huge amounts of data that must be rapidly delivered to Earth from satellites, spacecraft or the International Space Station (ISS). Traditionally, the signal processing platforms that do the work of transmitting data from space infrastructure are usually custom-made to suit a specific mission. Unfortunately, mission realities and priorities can change during a mission life, but hardware cannot be changed after launch.


What’s needed? More access to electromagnetic spectrum and greater flexibility in how space-based hardware operates. For scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Harris Corporation, the answer was a new technology using the “Ka-band” portion of the spectrum, whose functions and waveforms can be adjusted by changing the software that controls the hardware. Similar to how a smart phone can be updated to add new “Apps” to perform functions utilizing the existing phone.


The result was the Ka-Band Software Defined Radio (SDR), which used a modular hardware design with reconfigurable processors to create a technology that delivers much higher data transmission speeds for space-based infrastructure. In 2012, SDR was launched to the ISS as part of the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) testbed to validate the ability of 3rd parties to upload new Apps after launch. It was successful and is still used today on the ISS.


Following this achievement, Harris Corporation developed a commercial version of their SDR technology called Harris AppSTARTM. Harris offers this standardized SDR hardware with software and firmware that is customized and uploadable, even after launch, for each customer’s mission. There are more than 250 of these radios used in space today, including the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation containing Harris-developed hosted payloads for the Aireon space-based aircraft monitoring system, tracking aircraft in real time; and the exactEarth maritime ship-tracking service.  Another technology making the world better connected.


About SpiraFlex Interim Resistive Exercise Device (iRED) 

Long stays in space, such as on the ISS, take a toll on the human body, as muscles atrophy and bones weaken and lose minerals. Astronauts have long used exercise equipment to help mitigate the effects of microgravity on their bodies. But as NASA astronaut Shannon Lucid found in 1996 after a six-month stay on the Mir space station, the station’s stationary bike and treadmill were insufficient to prevent muscle and bone loss. A resistive exercise device was needed. The challenge was that the best solution on Earth was weight training but that required gravity.


Before the first crew arrived on the ISS, NASA required a more effective countermeasure for muscular-skeletal degradation. Working with NASA Johnson Space Center’s Life Sciences and engineering teams, SpiraFlex Inc. created the Interim Resistive Exercise Device (iRED). Using their patented SpiraFlex technology of molded elastomeric spiral disks. Once connected to a spiral pulley, the discs provided linear resistance up to 300 lbs.  While on-orbit, crew members could complete daily exercise protocols, including squats to load the spine, hips and legs, which are most effected by micro-gravity.  A NASA sponsored 16-week study showed that the SpiraFlex iRED provided comparable results to using free-weights. iRED was the first resistive exercise system built specifically for space. It was installed on the ISS in 2000 with the first long-duration crew. It proved so effective it was used on the station until 2009 when the vibration isolated Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) was ready.


The patent owner, Paul Francis, assigned his patents to SpiraFlex Inc., which in turn licensed the technology to Nautilus Inc., who has since developed and markets their Bowflex Revolution home gym, and to OYO Fitness LLC.  Today OYO Fitness has developed and markets, OYO Personal Gym for individual use. The primary advantage of using SpiraFlex technology on Earth is that users can obtain the same benefits of weight training without the need for heavy cumbersome weights and related equipment. Lessons and technologies proven in space, can make for healthier lives on-orbit and on Earth.



Ka Band Software-Defined Radio (SDR)/Harris AppSTAR™ Architecture


  • Jeffery R. Anderson, Chief Systems Engineer, Space Intelligence Systems – Harris Corporation
  • Joseph Downey, Telecommunications Engineer – NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Sandra K. Johnson, Senior Communication Systems Engineer – NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Thomas Kacpura, Program Manager – NASA Glenn Research Center, Advanced Space Communications
  • Richard D. Lilley, P.E., Chief Systems Engineer, Space & Intelligence Systems – Harris Corporation
  • Kevin Moran, Program Manager, Space & Intelligence Systems – Harris Corporation
  • Richard C. Reinhart, Chief, System Architecture & Analytical Studies Branch — NASA Glenn Research Center


  • NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Harris Corporation

SpiraFlex Interim Resistive Exercise Device (IRED)


  • Paul Francis, CEO/Chairman – OYO Fitness LLC
  • Dr. Roger Billica, private practice – TriLife Health
  • Michael Rapley, Crew Health and Medical Lead – NASA Johnson Space Center


  • NASA Johnson Space Center
  • OYO Fitness LLC
  • Nautilus, Inc.

About the Judges

The distinguished panel of judges who selected the 2019 Space Technology Hall of Fame® inductees comprised:

  • Kira Blackwell – Program Executive, NASA iTech
  • Emily Calandrelli – Executive Producer and Host, Xploration Outer Space
  • Dr. Megan Clark – Head, Australian Space Agency
  • Terry Craig – CEO and President, The X-1R Corporation
  • Ofer Lapid – Co-founder and CTO, Space-Nest Israel
  • Didier Lapierre – Technology Transfer Officer, French Space Agency
  • Anne-Marie Lan Phan – Head of Intellectual Property Management & Tech Transfer, Canadian Space Agency
  • Nader Sabry – Founder and CEO, TIMEZ5 Global Inc. and Get2Space Initiative

Nominate Technologies for 2020 Induction in the Space Technology Hall of Fame

The deadline to submit nominations for induction in 2020 will be Aug. 30, 2019. 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 at


About the Space Foundation

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and the world’s premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community. It is a leader in space awareness activities, educational programs, and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium. Space Foundation headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, and has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere®, and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a Washington, D.C., office and field representatives in Houston and the Florida Space Coast. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space Certification™ and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit both of our websites – and – and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


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Space Foundation Contact:
Carol Hively, Director – Public Relations & Team Communications
[email protected]