NASA’s Technology Transfer Program is rarely talked about but has contributed to many of the technologies that we take for granted in our daily lives. In this article, we will be discussing a few of the essential technologies that have benefited from the program over the years.
First on the list is a technology that has really made a name for itself in 2020: 5G. This is just one of the many innovations that have stemmed from satellites developed by NASA. Both 5G and satellites utilize something called an isolator, a device that protects microwave or radio receivers from interfering waves. 5G technology has benefited from these low-loss isolators that can work at high frequencies and power levels.
Next on the list is a special type of drone that many have likely never heard of, the S2 drone. It is designed and built to withstand harsh conditions while gathering data close to occurring natural disasters. The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research has even used the S2 drone in conditions of -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Development was funded by multiple NASA-supported Small Business Innovation Research projects.
Last but certainly not least, we have the winner of NASA’s 2007 Commercial Invention of the Year, polyimide foam. This is a technology that could be included in one of your future homes, and you’d never know. Initially created for thermal insulation on reusable launch vehicles, polyimide foam provides effective insulation from -400 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The foam is also fire-resistant, cheap to produce, and provides some level of soundproofing.
These are just a few of the technologies originally developed for space but are making their way into our daily lives. It’s all thanks to NASA’s Technology Transfer Program, which is designed to allow companies to license these various technologies for broader applications.