International Space Station Spinoffs

Every day, in a variety of ways, American lives are touched by space technology. Since 1976, over 1,600 documented NASA technologies have benefited U.S. industry, improved the quality of life, and created jobs. These spinoffs stem from technologies created to support construction of the ISS, as well as from work performed on the ISS.


RiPP Strength Training machine (pictured) is a compact exercise device

SpiraFlex® Resistance Exercise Device - The SpiraFlex system, presently aboard the International Space Station, is used by the crewmembers as a primary countermeasure against musculoskeletal degradation caused by microgravity. Using SpiraFlex technology, Schwinn Cycling & Fitness, Inc., launched an international fitness program for health clubs and select retail distributors, called RiPP™ (Resistance Performance Program).

photo of a group of Zipnut fasteners, that push on rather than turn
ZipNut, a fastening device that is pushed rather than turned, was originally developed for shuttle flight STS-29 and then selected to be a key mechanical element for robotic assembly of the International Space Station. Installation time of space station trusses was improved greatly since the bolts could be pushed into place rather than having to be turned like conventional nut/bolt combinations. On Earth, the ZipNut can be used for a variety of applications, including firefighting, aerospace, gas fittings, and manufacturing. In 1999, 45 stainless steel 1-1/8 Heavy Hex ZipNuts were used by the Department of Energy Savannah River Project to speed up maintenance in a high radiation area during a nuclear outage. The ZipNuts were successful and reduced worker radiation.
The Personal
Cabin Pressure Altitude Monitor and Warning System digital display provides a text message of the warning
The Personal Cabin Pressure Altitude Monitor and Warning System is a hand-held, personal safety device to warn pilots of potentially dangerous or deteriorating cabin pressure altitude conditions before hypoxia becomes a threat. Invented by a NASA Applied Research and Development Engineer to give space shuttle and International Space Station crew members an additional, independent notification of any depressurization events, the device benefits both pressurized and non-pressurized aircraft operations. Applications beyond aviation and aerospace include scuba diving, skydiving, mountain climbing, meteorology, altitude chambers, and underwater habitats.
photo of The AiroCide TiO2 - an air-purifier that kills 93.3 percent of airborne pathogens that pass through it, including  anthrax spores
The AiroCide TiO2 is an air-purifier that kills 93.3 percent of airborne pathogens that pass through it, including Bacillus anthraci, more commonly known as anthrax. It is essentially a spinoff of KES Science & Technology, Inc.’s Bio-KES system, a highly effective device used by the produce industry for ethylene gas removal to aid in preserving the freshness of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The TiO2-based ethylene removal technology that is incorporated into the company’s AiroCide TiO2 and Bio-KES products was first integrated into a pair of International Space Station plant-growth chambers known as ASTROCULTURE™ and ADVANCED ASTROCULTURE.™ Both chambers have housed commercial plant growth experiments in space.
photo of the 'BarretHand', a multi-fingered programmable grasper
A series of autonomous Robotic Arms developed to recover crew or tools outside of the International Space Station have found application on Earth, in fields ranging from human-collaborative medical surgery to emergency response to chemical, biological, and nuclear materials. The Robotic Arms can reach around objects and clasp them with the use of gear-free cable drives to manipulate its joints. With a human-scale 3-foot-reach, the arms are so quick that they can grab a major-league fastball, yet so sensitive that they respond to the gentlest touch. The commercial manufacturer is also targeting markets such as physical therapy, rehabilitation, assisted-living aids, metrology, short-run manufacturing, and entertainment.
photo of a microwave oven, designed for NASA's Space Station Freedom use
Fast Cooking: Ovens designed for NASA's Space Station Freedom use new air impingement technology. Jets of hot air at the top and bottom of the oven are focused on the food, rather than heating the oven cavity as in a traditional thermal oven. By heating the food directly, foods cook faster and more consistently, retaining flavor and texture.
photo of waste water purification device, originally developed for flight aboard the Space Station
A technology for waste water purification originally developed for flight aboard the Space Station uses a direct osmosis process followed by a reverse osmosis treatment. Because the product extracts water from a waste product, it is being used in landfills.
photo of '360º Camera': NASA technology used for guiding space robots
360º Camera: - NASA technology used for guiding space robots, in the space shuttle and space station programs, as well as research in cryogenic wind tunnels and for remote docking of spacecraft employs panoramic cameras. Images are captured in their entirety in a 360-degree immersive digital representation, and the viewer can navigate to any desired direction within the image. Several car manufacturers already use this technology to provide customers a look at their latest line-up of automobiles, and the panoramic camera is also being used to show hotel accommodations and for non-invasive surgical procedures.
photo of golf clubs made of 'Zeemet' - A material designed for the space station aided in the development of Zeemet, a proprietary, high-damping shape memory alloy for the golf industry.
Golf Clubs: A material designed for the space station aided in the development of Zeemet, a proprietary, high-damping shape memory alloy for the golf industry. The Nicklaus Golf Company created a new line of golf clubs using Zeemet inserts. Its superelastic and high damping attributes translate into more spin on the ball, greater control, and a solid feel.
photo of The JORDY headset, which helps people with low vision to see
The Low Vision Enhancement System (LVES) - is a video headset that offers people with low vision a view of their surroundings equivalent to the image on a 5-foot television screen 4 feet from the viewer. For many people with low vision, it eases everyday activities such as reading, watching TV, and shopping. Researchers used NASA technology for computer processing of satellite images and head-mounted vision enhancement systems originally intended for the space station.