Flexible Aerogel Insulating System

Inducted In: 2012, Consumer, Health, Home, Industrial Productivity/Manufacturing Technology, Medicine, Recreation

NASA Image of Flexible Aerogel Insulating System
Induction year:
Inducted individuals:
James E. Fesmire
Dr. George L. Gould
Dr. Kang P. Lee
Dr. Jae Ryu
Inducted organizations:
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
Aspen Systems, Inc.
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Flexible aerogels were originally developed to serve as a barrier to the extreme temperatures that occur during rocket launches and that affect spacecraft as they are exposed to both high heat and severe cold. Because the initial silica aerogels were fragile and expensive, NASA contracted with James Fesmire, senior principal investigator of the Cryogenics Test Laboratory at Kennedy Space Center, and the startup company Aspen Systems Inc. to produce affordable and easy-to-use aerogel composite blankets for space applications.

Aspen Aerogels continued its development of the product to produce three variations – Cryogel, Pyrogel and Spaceloft – that are now used in industrial, construction, refrigeration, automotive, medical and commercial applications. Examples include:


  • Insoles for mountain climbers and endurance runners
  • A wrap that helps sufferers of Raynaud’s disease maintain blood temperature and flow in extremities where constricted blood vessels cause pain and discoloration
  • Home insulation that, according to Department of Energy, when applied to wall studs in a quarter-inch-thick strip, can increase the wall’s insulation factor by 30 percent

The leading provider in the United States, Aspen Aerogels produces nearly 20 million square feet of the material per year for extreme environments on Earth and in space.




Related Technologies

Nature’s Fynd and Liquid-Air Interface Fermentation

Nature’s Fynd and Liquid-Air Interface Fermentation

Inducted In: Consumer

 Nature’s Fynd is a food company currently producing commercial meat and dairy substitute products. The protein-rich food is produced from a microbe originally discovered in geothermal springs in Yellowstone National Park. Researcher Dr. Mark Kozubal discovered this fungal microbe…

Beowulf Computing Cluster

Beowulf Computing Cluster

Inducted In: Communications Technology, Computer Technology, Featured, Industrial Productivity/Manufacturing Technology

A Beowulf Computing Cluster is a grouping of off-the-shelf computer hardware networked together with fast communication software. The resulting parallel processing power of the collection generates processing speeds faster than most super-computer systems used for complex processing – at a…



Inducted In: Computer Technology, Featured, Industrial Productivity/Manufacturing Technology

The origin story of the CubeSat idea is clear-cut and well-known. It was conceived by two engineering professors as a teaching tool for students to get hands-on experience with satellite functionality. In the 1990’s Professor Robert Twiggs was teaching engineering…