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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Safety Grooving

Inducted In: 1990, Public Safety

In the 1960s, NASA’s Langley Research Center initiated an extensive research program to develop a method to reduce the incidence of aircraft tire hydroplaning, a condition that occurs during rainstorms when tires rolling or sliding along water-covered pavement are lifted away from the surface by the action of water pressure. Aircraft tire hydroplaning was considered…

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Radiant Barrier

Inducted In: 1996, Public Safety

Spacecraft are subject to temperature extremes that range from 400° F above zero to 400° below zero. Protecting astronauts from these extreme temperatures was a prime concern for NASA spacecraft designers. NASA researchers sought after a temperature control technology for the Apollo spacecraft that would provide a barrier which was both lightweight and flexible and…

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Fire-Resistant Aircraft Seats

Inducted In: 1996, Public Safety

One of the tragedies of the early space program was a fire that occurred in an Apollo module causing the deaths of three astronauts. On investigation of the fire, it was found that some of the materials utilized in the spacecraft, such as polyurethane foam in seats, were highly flammable. NASA initiated an extensive research…

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Humanitarian Demining Device

Inducted In: 2003, Public Safety

Nations throughout the world have a need for low-cost, easy to use demining devices to disarm the millions of landmines deployed in widely scattered locations. Though it is possible to render landmines safe through remote detonation or behind armored plating, these methods are expensive and difficult. The Navy and DE Technologies Inc. theorized that landmines…

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Precision Global Positioning System (GPS) Software

Inducted In: 2004, Public Safety

In 1985 NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) began developing software to determine satellite orbits with pinpoint accuracy. This work led to the development of a sophisticated system that incorporates special GPS algorithms and now uses the Internet to deliver information enabling real-time positioning accurate to a few inches anywhere in the world for terrestrial users…

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iRobot PackBot Tactical Mobile Robot

Inducted In: 2006, Public Safety

Used in high-risk law enforcement and security operations the PackBot Tactical Mobile Robot incorporates technology originally developed for an early model Martian rover named Rocky-7. Rocky-7 served as a test bed for the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity now on Mars. The transferred technologies include high-torque control actuators, a high-strength lightweight frame, and riveted sheet-metal…

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Early Fire and Smoke Detection System – FireWatch

Inducted In: 2012, Public Safety

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…

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Satellite Based Search-and-Rescue

Inducted In: 2014, Public Safety

In 1979, four countries came together to develop global approach to satellite based search-and-rescue. The United States, France, Canada and the Soviet Union agreed to jointly develop a worldwide system. By 1985, that global system known as Cospas-Sarsat was fully operational. Since its inception, this satellite based system has rescued more than 32,000 people. The…

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Seismic Damper Technology

Inducted In: 2015, Public Safety

In the 1960’s, Taylor Devices was awarded a NASA contract to develop a system to safely disengage hoses and mechanical gear jettisoned off of launch vehicles. These first motion dampening systems were hydraulic dampers controlled by electronic valves.  While this approach safely contained the motion of the gear, the system itself was complex and prone…

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