Original Astronaut Space Pen

Inducted In: 2021, Consumer, Featured, Home, Recreation

If there is one model of space pens that single-handedly launched Fisher Space Pen into space, that would be the AG7 – Original Astronaut Space Pen. The creation of this pen took thousands of failed experiments, personal investment of hard-earned money, and a tad bit of “Mad Scientist” work-ethic to bring the first ever, pressurized…

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Protective Coating for Ceramic Materials

Researchers at Ames had devised a silicon-based compound as part of the development of the X-33 and X-34 prototype planes. These planes were projected to fly at 15 times the speed of sound. The friction from these super-sonic speeds would produce extremely high temperatures on the airplanes surface, so a protective coating was needed to…

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Apollo 70 Cardiac Care Monitoring System

Inducted In: 2020, Featured, Health, Medicine

Founded in 1958, Spacelabs Healthcare approached NASA with their concept of a real-time system for monitoring astronauts’ vital signs while in orbit, including a telemetry system to simultaneously transmit the data back to Earth. From 1962 to 1967, Spacelabs was awarded NASA and Air Force contracts to develop this system, which was first used by…

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Audio Conference Bridge Technology

Compunetix was founded in 1968 as a small contract-services technology provider. In 1987, they won a contract to deliver a digital voice switching system for NASA that would accommodate the agency’s wide range of communication needs. At the time, NASA’s communication network was an analog system requiring the manual switching of cables to relay communication…

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Traveling-Wave Tube Amplifier

First developed in the 1930s, Traveling-Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTAs) were designed to amplify radio frequency signals. It was in the early 1960s that NASA and L3 teamed up to evolve the technology so it would meet the transmission needs of space missions. The first TWTA flew on a satellite in 1962, and they have been…

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SpiraFlex Interim Resistive Exercise Device (iRED)

Inducted In: 2019, Consumer, Featured, Home, Recreation

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…

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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…

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Improved Firefighter’s Breathing System

Inducted In: 1988, Featured, Health, Public Safety

In the early 1970s, the Johnson Space Center (JSC) undertook to adapt and apply technology developed for portable life support used by Apollo astronauts on the moon in a significant effort to improve firefighter breathing systems. This effort was in response to a need expressed by many of the nation’s fire chiefs. What emerged four…

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Tempur Foam

Inducted In: 1998, Consumer, Featured, Home, Recreation

The TEMPUR story begins in the late 1960s when NASA scientists and engineers were asked to develop a material to absorb the G-force pressure astronauts endure during lift-off and landing. They invented a unique formulation of viscoelastic material, with both high-energy absorption and soft, pressure-relieving properties. In the early 1970s, our Swedish founders – Mikael…

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Active Pixel Sensor

Since the 1970’s when charged coupled devices (CCD’s) were first developed, camera and video companies have been seeking to improve the technology. CCD’s provide good image quality, but they are expensive, power hungry, and with the required accessory chips, bulky. Recognizing the shortcomings of CCD technology, and with the continuing need for lightweight imaging systems…

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