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Spinoff 2001

 
Foreword

of Daniel S GoldinAs NASA Administrator, I take exceptional pride in the manner in which innovative entrepreneurs take NASA's revolutionary technologies, which are developed for space and aeronautics programs, and adapt them to the benefit of everyone on Earth. I am proud of this aspect of NASA's work because it shows just how connected we all are on this small planet. This publication summarizes just some of the application of NASA's expertise, bringing the fruits of investment in NASA to everyone's doorstep.

This year we moved into a new era in human space exploration. We now have the International Space Station well underway with the second of our permanent crews aboard. As our full-time habitation of the space environment grows, the products and technologies needed to keep our crews healthy grows too. That is why research on the effect of space travel on living things--cells, tissues, plants, animals, and people--is so important. Just as important, is the application of that knowledge to all of us here on Earth. Few people are fortunate enough to go into space, but many of us benefit from what we learn by putting those few into that most extreme of environments.

NASA's research and development programs, carried out under the guidance of our strategic plan, are carefully crafted to point NASA's efforts toward scientific and technical advances needed for our missions in space and aeronautics. Through programs such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Telescope, we make breakthrough advances in our knowledge of this universe. Through programs that look back at the Earth from space, we increase our knowledge of this fragile planet. We invest in research related to aircraft, spacecraft, and their propulsion systems. We study and develop new materials and processes to manufacture them to the high tolerances required for extreme environments. We advance the field of robotics and applied physics. We also examine the effect of space travel on machines and on the most amazing machine of all--the human body.

A technology developed to monitor the cardiac output of astronauts in space has been adapted so that physicians on Earth can measure the ability of their patients' hearts to deliver blood to the body. What was once an intrusive procedure requiring a hospital stay can now be replaced with readings from an external monitor.

Workers who once labored in the very dangerous job of inspecting petroleum tanks can do so from the safety of the controls of a robotic inspector. The emotional and financial heartbreak of fire can be reduced or eliminated altogether, with a coating developed first for NASA heatshields, and modified for use in building materials such as wood, plasterboard, steel, plastics, fiberglass, and ceramics.

This publication is full of examples of the innovation of our private sector. It is this innovation that keeps America at the forefront of scientific and technical leadership. Many of the examples in this publication are surprising, many are inspiring; all are interesting and indicative of the wealth and breadth of our collective genius.

When I am asked what relevance NASA's research and programs have to everyday life, I refer people to Spinoff the stories behind the connection between NASA technology and a better life for all.

Daniel S. Goldin
Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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