Technology from space shuttle program a big hit on Earth

Many people mistakenly think they were born out of NASA’s space shuttle program. Truth is, none of them was invented for NASA shuttle missions, and all were commercially available products that were adapted for space travel use. Their use in orbit, however, probably contributed to their popularity.

So with the approach of the final shuttle launch, what types of technological advancements has NASA brought us?

Since 1976, more than 1,700 documented NASA technologies have benefited U.S. industry, improved our quality of life, and created jobs and industries. NASA says the space shuttle program alone has generated more than 100 technology spinoffs — commercially available systems, products or services that owe their existence to NASA-based technologies.

It’s almost impossible to find an area of everyday life that has not been improved by these spinoffs.

Think about it. Whether you drive a car, walk into your home, visit a hospital or just simply indulge in a recreational activity, chances are you’re coming into contact with a product that is the result of technology first developed by NASA.

For instance, homeowners are insulating their homes with the same lightweight, flexible material NASA uses to insulate low-temperature areas on space shuttles.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. produced a radial tire with a tread life expected to be 10,000 miles greater than conventional radials by using a fibrous material it developed for NASA.

When law enforcement officials needed help improving grainy crime scene video, NASA assisted with high-tech image-processing technology it used to analyze space shuttle launch video.

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