Mike Johnson, a former technician at Johnson Space Center, drew on his expertise as a wastewater engineer to create a line of kombucha-based probiotic drinks. He founded a company that has now sold more than 6 million units of the NASA-inspired beverage and employs 12 people.
Because an airplane must be snow- and ice-free to fly safely, researchers at Ames Research Center devised a solution that prevented ice from sticking to a surface. After licensing the technology for use in anti-icing products for train tracks and switches, the products are now increasing this company’s revenue by $300,000-$600,000 a year.
To allow inspectors to scan the space shuttle’s hydrogen fuel systems from a safe distance, Kennedy Space Center engineers developed a long-range attachment for an ultrasonic detector. A business licensed the NASA invention to allow workers to safely and accurately pinpoint leaks in factories and other industrial settings, and is providing savings in the millions of dollars.
Phase change materials (PCMs) were one of the technologies NASA used to help astronauts maintain a “just right” temperature in their space gloves. A large apparel company recently released a line of men’s and women’s undergarments incorporating the NASA technology.
Partnering with Goddard Space Flight Center through the SBIR program, a company created modular radiometer instruments that allow scientists to customize the technology for their research. Thanks to its NASA collaboration, the company has garnered more than $2 million in contracts, and the spinoff is being used to monitor the planet’s oceans, climate change, and more.