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Inducted Space Technology Hall of Fame Technologies

The Space Technology Hall of Fame® comprises many extraordinary innovations — all derived from or significantly improved by space research or exploration. Learn about the inducted 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 visit our Nominate a Technology page to learn more about the Space Technology Hall of Fame® selection criteria.

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Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Technology

The ability to see faint objects, such as distant galaxies, is a critical element of the Hubble Space Telescope’s mission. NASA researchers found that available technology could not meet Hubble’s stringent requirements. A joint development effort between NASA and Scientific Imaging Technologies, Inc. (SITe) developed a new charged coupled device technology fulfilling the rigorous needs.…

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Advanced Communications Technology

With an ever-increasing market for satellite generated information, new advanced satellite communications methods for transmitting tremendous amounts of information are needed. NASA ascertained that an all-digital, gigabit-capacity communications system was necessary to handle the growing demand and produced the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS).  Launched in 1993, the satellite uses advanced on-board switching and processing…

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Tempur Foam

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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Global Positioning System (GPS)

The Global Positioning System (GPS) program began in 1973 when the U.S. military services and the Defense Mapping Agency combined resources to develop a highly accurate space-based navigation system. Functions not originally envisioned, such as communications system synchronization, search and rescue, precision approaches and landings, and GPS-assisted munitions, have come into common usage within the…

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Miniature Accelerometer

About one decade ago, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), then the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, funded Silicon Designs to develop radiation-hardened accelerometers for kinetic energy vehicles to measure the change in velocity resulting from rocket motor firings that occur while changing trajectory. Smaller than a person’s thumbnail, these devices have very low power requirements…

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Heart Defibrillator Energy Source

Proper heart rhythms can often be reestablished by the sudden discharge of stored energy in this pulsed-power device which uses a capacitor originally developed for space-based lasers and accelerators. In the mid-1980’s, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) funded a company now named Maxwell Technologies to develop a high energy-density thin-film capacitor – a device…

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DeBakey Blood Pump

Based on turbine technology developed for use in liquid propellant rocket engines, this specially designed small, lightweight, high speed turbine pumps blood without damage to the delicate, individual blood cells. A joint effort beginning in 1988 between NASA and a group of doctors headed by Dr. Michael DeBakey led to development of this Ventricular Assist…

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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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Light Emitting Diodes for medical applications

One of NASA’s life science research goals is to better understand plant growth in microgravity. NASA found that it was difficult to use traditional plant growth light sources in space because they require considerable power and turn much of it into heat. This means that the experimental system has to have good controls to eliminate…

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Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)

A few decades ago visionaries at Hughes Electronics Corporation believed that it should be possible to produce a digitally-based, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) that would provide services directly to home consumers. This idea was based upon a perceived growing market and the technology and know-how the corporation had from developing satellites for military and telecommunications…

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