Space technology has provided many advances in our everyday life. Scientists invent products and techniques to meet the requirements of space exploration. Often these inventions can also be used on Earth. Many people call space products used on Earth "space spin-offs". Here are just some of them.
Apollo technology has been used to produce a lighter breathing system for firefighters. The new system weighs about 20 pounds (9 kg) and has a mask with greater peripheral vision.
European Space Agency satellites will provide information on fire locations. This can be used to help develop firefighting strategy. This program has been tested and is scheduled to begin use in 2000.
Landstat and Skylab technology is used to check the human eye for refractive error and cornea or lens obstruction.
Satellites orbiting the Earth, Earth monitoring stations, and navigation receivers provide accurate positioning for ships, ground vehicles, airplanes and hand-held use. This technology has both military and non-military uses.
A handheld drill developed by Black & Decker and NASA for moon soil samples has been modified for use in a line of cordless tools. This cordless technology is now used in building construction, home handyman areas, gardening, and the operating room.
This improved image technology requires less power, is less expensive and is smaller than previous technology. It has provided better images for camcorders, digital cameras, night vision and x-rays.
Using Space Shuttle turbine technology, a small blood pump has been developed. It can by used temporarily until a heart transplant is available or used to help pump blood while an injured heart repairs itself. It might also have potential as a permanent implant.
Combining NASA space helmet visor technology with Foster Grants internal research, scratch resistant lenses are available for sunglasses and prescription lenses.
A satellite circling the Earth receives transmissions from undersea detectors. It provides accurate information on tsunami size and strength.
NASA technology was used to develop a back brace for people with scoliosis. This brace is an alternative to surgery.
Space Shuttle radar images help locate ancient cities, roads, and ruins. This helps pinpoint archaeological areas faster. This technology helped locate the lost city of Ubar which is located in Oman.
NASA is helping design a new protective case to preserve the National Archives' copy of the Declaration of Independence.
NASA required coatings to cover and protect launch structures from exhaust, temperature changes, ocean spray, and fog. Coatings containing zinc dust and potassium silicate resist corrosion. Today these coatings are used on statues such as the Statue of Liberty, bridges, pipelines, military tanks, and power stations.
NASA developed a protective foam cushion for use on the Space Shuttle and airlines. The foam provides impact protection and distributes body weight over the entire cushion. This spin-off has use with helmets, wheelchair cushions, and other medical needs.
For the Apollo program, water-cooled garments were developed to protect astronauts from the Moons high temperatures. These garments can reduce body heat by 40 - 60%. Currently, this technology is used by race car drivers, nuclear reactor workers, lumber mill workers, and military assigned to desert stations. In addition, people with medical conditions like Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia (lack of sweat glands), cystic fibrosis, and bad burns can benefit from using these garments.
Hang gliders or parawings resulted from early NASA investigations into using parawings as a method of returning payloads from space to Earth. Now, many recreational and commercial uses have been found for hang gliders. Also, the Armys Golden Knights team uses parawings in their program.
Metallized plastics were used for the Apollo missions to enable astronauts to have a temperature controlled working area. These special plastics insulate the spacecraft from extreme hot and cold. Today, this technology is used on Earth in the construction industry, food transportation, and other areas where temperature control is important.
Space technology has helped make our life on Earth so much better. It has helped improve our quality of life and our environment. If you would like more information on space spin-offs, you can check out the Space Technology Hall of Fame or the information provided by NASA. Youll be amazed at how many innovations come from space.