Commercial Benefits—Spinoffs

Drawing upon research and development investments and other leading sources of technological innovation, NASA seeks to foster partnerships and cooperative activities with U.S. commercial enterprises to develop technology that is applicable to both NASA mission needs and commercial ventures in global markets. Also, as part of the Agency’s mission, NASA facilitates the transfer and commercialization of NASA-sponsored research and technology, including the industrial use of unique capabilities and facilities.

Though NASA research and technology has been disseminated to the public in many different ways over the past 40 years, one transfer program has garnered significant recognition for its ability to provide small and socially disadvantaged U.S. businesses with the necessary resources to reach new heights. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, established by the U.S. Congress in 1982, promotes commercialization of innovations derived from federally funded research. Each year, small businesses are encouraged to submit proposals in response to technical topics listed in the annual SBIR program solicitation.

Strong SBIR partnerships and other extensive outreach activities have translated into immeasurable benefits for humankind—from lifesaving medical devices to industrial machinery that complete jobs in minutes, rather than days. The following section highlights a vast assortment of commercial technologies shaped by the minds and hands of NASA scientists, engineers, experts, and their respective technology transfer collaborators. These products, known as spinoffs, strengthen the Nation’s prosperity and quality of life.

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