Since the dawn of the Space Age, the world has benefited from the transfer of NASA ingenuity into the marketplace. Spinoffs are the product of NASA technology development, partnerships, research, patent licenses, waivers and facility use.
Rocket Engine Design > Fire Suppression System
Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) has partnered with NASA to design innovative space exploration propulsion systems. An ORBITIC subsidiary, HMA Fire used engine technology advancements to develop an ultra-high pressure (UHP) fire suppression system. Compared to traditional tools, the system requires only a single operator and can extinguish fires in significantly less time with considerably less water.
The key is smaller droplets which can cover a greater surface area. The UHP system mitigates water damage while providing smoke and temperature reduction performance enhancements. It is currently in use by military abroad as well as firefighting personnel throughout the United States.
NASA Simulations and Expertise > Bus Safety and Fuel Alternatives
Navistar International Transportation Corporation (NITC) answered the demand for student transport improvements by developing a school bus specific chassis (frame, wheels, and power train). NASA technologies and computer simulations were used to make the ride to school safer and smoother for students across the country.
In a separate effort, NASA’s Glenn Research Center teamed up with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to put hydrogen fuel busses on the road—the electric motor/fuel cell design emits water, eliminating traditional atmospheric pollutants while running almost silently.
Space Shuttle > Rescue Equipment
The LifeShear cutter provides emergency workers a low-cost, light weight alternative to traditional rescue systems. Firefighters use LifeShear cutters to sever autos, collapsed buildings, and metal restraints to save lives.
The technology was developed by NASA and Hi-Shear using a modified power cartridge found aboard the Space Shuttle and has been used by FEMA and firefighters to aid national rescue efforts, including World Trade Center emergency response teams in New York City.