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Space Technology Hall of Fame

Cordless Tools

Year: 
Inducted Individuals: 
Donald Friedman
Francis Rosenthal
Technology Description: 

NASA scientists, in order to conduct a thorough study of the Moon's soil, needed samples from both the lunar surface and subsurface. Digging into the hard lunar surface layer demanded a lightweight, compact power drill capable of drilling 10 feet below the surface. To top those requirements, the drill also needed its own independent power source. The Black & Decker Corporation - working with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center - responded with a battery-operated, magnetometer system. Black & Decker used a unique computer program to optimize the design of the drill's motor and ensure minimal power consumption. In the years following the Apollo Program, Black & Decker refined this spin-off technology and created entire lines of handy cordless tools for widely different industries. The cordless tool brings flexibility and freedom of movement to the surgeon in the operating room, the professional building contractor, the handyman at home, the gardener, the worker in the plant, and the homemaker. Among the most popular and famous of these is the Dustbuster - a handheld vacuum cleaner for home or auto. These cordless products now account for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales in America alone.

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