NASA Innovations 2010

NASA is a pioneering leader in research, development, and design. This year, five different NASA technologies were included on the Research and Design 100 Awards list. Four awards were given to NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and one award was given to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Nasa Innovations

GATR Inflatable Satellite Communication System

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland

GATR Inflatable Satellite Communication System

The GATR Inflatable Satellite Communications System is a portable ground based inflatable antenna. The system is created from flexible materials which allow it to be easily transported and deployed where needed. It can be set up and begin working within an hour.

The GATR Antenna System provides immediate Internet, telephone and cell phone access in emergency situations. This technology can be beneficial to military operations as well as during disaster relief efforts. GATR was successfully used in the United States’ relief outreach to Haiti in response to their devastating earthquake in January 2010.

Through a Space Act Agreement, NASA and GATR Technologies worked together to refine the GATR Inflatable Satellite Communication system. This system is the first inflatable antenna to be certified by the Federal Communications Commission.

Bob Romanofsky (NASA), Kevin Lambert (QinetiQ North America) and Paul Gierow (GATR Technologies) were recognized for the GATR Inflatable Satellite Communication System.

High Altitude Hydration System

NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston

altitude hydration system

The High Altitude Hydration System is a leak-proof container, worn in a backpack, which prevents water from freezing in low-temperatures, such as during high-altitude climbs.

Worn on the body, the High Altitude Hydration System (HAHS) makes use of body heat to keep water in a liquid state. NASA-developed aerogel surrounds the container and the straw, offering further insulation. Tape heaters on the straw powered by a nine-volt lithium battery with a microcontroller can also be used with this system in the most extreme conditions, to prevent ice accumulation.

This technology could benefit law enforcement and military personnel, as well as outdoor recreationalists, like hikers, skiers and campers.

Scott E. Parazynski (NASA), Grant C. Bue (NASA), Evelyne Orndoff (NASA), Mark E. Schaefbauer (Jacobs Technology) and Kase Urban (Jacobs Technology) were recognized for the High Altitude Hydration System.

Low Plasticity Burnishing

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland

Low Plasticity Burnishing greatly increases the resistance of metals to fatigue cracking at high temperatures. This can be especially important in rotating components such as those used in airplane turbine engines. This process, developed at Lambda Technologies through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program at Glenn, is more affordable than conventional methods and produces superior results.

Low plasticity burnishing produces a surface condition that increases the fatigue life of metals, and also increases their ability to withstand impacts. This technology can extend the life of aircraft in both the military and the commercial sector, enabling airplanes to remain in service longer.

Ignacy “Jack” Telesman (NASA), Tim Gabb (NASA), Perry Mason (Lambda Technologies), Doug Hornbach (Lambda Technologies), Paul Prevéy (Lambda Technologies) and Pete Kantzos (Honeywell) were recognized for Low Plasticity Burnishing.

Spring Tire

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland

The Spring Tire reinvents the traditional concept of what a tire is. It is comprised of a network of coiled wires, which can safely and efficiently carry a vehicle over rough terrain — on Earth, on the moon, on other planets.

These tires offer a high resiliency and require neither rubber nor air. The load-bearing helical springs uniquely adapt to uneven ground and are not affected by extremes in temperature. The tires, developed to be easily assembled for use, can be beneficial for space exploration as well as military operations that require travelling over various landscapes. They are not susceptible to puncture and can continue to properly perform even if damaged.

The Spring Tire was created with the support of the Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) and the Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP).

Vivake Asnani (NASA), Jim Benzing (Goodyear) and Jim Kish (Goodyear) were recognized for their Spring Tire research.

Thin Film Ferroelectric High Resolution Scanning Reflectarray Antenna

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland

The Thin Film Ferroelectric High Resolution Scanning Reflectarray Antenna uses innovative phase shifter technology to improve performance and reduce cost of electronically steerable phased arrays. The system offers functionality comparable to conventional phased array antennas, while increasing efficiency and decreasing cost through simpler device fabrication and assembly techniques.

This new technology could enhance space exploration to other planets, can improve radar detection of orbital debris and can improve rendezvous and docking maneuvers of spacecraft. It also has terrestrial applications, such as developing collision avoidance radar systems for cars on Earth.

Félix Miranda (NASA), Bob Romanofsky (NASA), Elizabeth McQuaid (NASA), Nicholas Varaljay (Ohio Aerospace Institute) and Frederick Van Keuls (Ohio Aerospace Institute) were recognized for the Thin Film Ferroelectric High Resolution Scanning Reflectarray Antenna.

Courtesy of NASA

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