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Space Technology Hall of Fame

Inducted Technologies

The Space Technology Hall of Fame comprises many extraordinary innovations - all derived from or significantly improved by space research or exploration. Learn about our inductees - the technologies and the innovators - here. You can scroll through all the years or find something specific using the handy search bar above. 

To nominate a technology, please download our Official Nomination Form or visit our Nominate a Technology page to learn more about the Space Technology Hall of Fame selection criteria.

2013

A public/private partnership between NASA Glenn Research Center and SRS Technologies led to 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 (now ManTech International Technologies) received an NASA 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...
Diagnosing medical issues in space can be challenging. Traditional imaging devices like MRI and CAT Scan are much too large, heavy and energy-hungry for practical use on existing spacecraft. Alternately, compact and low-power ultrasound promises to be the diagnostic tool of choice for future human space missions. In 2000, NASA 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...

2012

DLR and the private firm IQ Wireless took technology developed by DLR to analyze gases and particles in space and created a terrestrial detection tool known as FireWatch that uses high-resolution optical sensors installed on towers or masts that connect to a remote central office to monitor forests and detect potential fires.  With sensors that can distinguish between more than 16,000 scales of grey, the system can spot developing fires in virtually any weather, day or night, resulting in a detection rate of more than 90 percent. FireWatch image processing software analyzes the motion,...
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...

2011

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, including Space Technology Hall of Fame® honorees DigitalGlobe, Inc., and...
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 studying this phenomenon had to halt their work when the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy grounded the Shuttle fleet, thus blocking access to the microgravity of space. As an alternate, they developed a device called the...

2010

The early 1960's saw embedded computers advance sufficiently to be used in Apollo spacecraft. By the late 1960s, NASA Flight Research Center (now Dryden) engineers began work to replace mechanical flight-control with digital fly-by-wire technology. Support came from Neil Armstrong who backed the transfer of a U.S. Navy F-8C Crusader to NASA which became the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire (DFBW) research aircraft. Proven performance and solid cooperation between NASA and industry translated into use of DFBW systems in new aircraft design in a remarkably short time. Today DFBW equipped aircraft...
Beginning with research at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1960's, Eagle Eyes technology is the result work to develop protection for human eyesight from the harmful effects of solar radiation.  Specifically, ultraviolet and blue-light rays which are known to contribute to cataract and age-related macular degeneration. NASA researchers looked to nature for a solution. They learned that the eyes of birds of prey contain oil droplets that filter out harmful radiation and permit only specific wavelengths of light to enter giving them extreme visual clarity" even at great distances. An...

2009

Vehicle design has seen radical improvements thanks in large part to NASA aerodynamics and fluid dynamics research. As vehicles move down the road at highway speeds, they must ‘push’ the air in front of them out of the way. Large trucks in particular must move huge quantities of air, creating high pressure zones around the vehicle. The compressed air spills around the cab in swirling vortices. At the back end the opposite occurs – the air is unable to negotiate the abrupt turn at the end of the vehicle and creates a low pressure zone. These effects produce significant aerodynamic drag on the...
Millions of infants and adults around the world benefit from nutrition technology that began with space research. In the early 1980s NASA’s Closed Environment Life Support System program explored the use of microalgae as a food supply, oxygen source and waste disposal catalyst on long duration interplanetary missions. Scientists continued work independently after the completion of the program, founding what would become Martek Biosciences, a leader in microalgae research and development. Martek research soon identified (Crypthecodinium cohnii) algae which produces high levels of DHA omega-3...

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