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August 4, 2000

Johnson Space Center Newsroom
Houston, TX
281 483-5111

Release: J00-46

NASA/JSC’S I2000 Offers Space Technologies for Use on Earth

Johnson Space Center’s Inspection2000 invites the public to view NASA technologies that are being - and could be - applied to Earthbound applications. From Nov. 1 to 3, industry, business and education professionals can visit exhibit booths and tour center facilities - such as the one of a kind Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory where astronauts train underwater for space walks - and talk with scientists and engineers about technical challenges.

NASA employees and contractors work every day to expand the frontiers of space and knowledge by exploring, using and enabling the development of space for human enterprise. I2000 provides the forum and facilities for a useful exchange between NASA and people interested in engaging in the commercial development of space and space technology.

“We see Inspection2000 as an opportunity to share technology and knowledge gained from space exploration with the private sector people,” said Charlene Gilbert, I2000 chair.

“We have some technologies that people will find not only interesting, but worthy of further evaluation and possible commercial development,” added Center Director George Abbey.

Successful uses of such technologies outside the space program include a tiny implantable heart assist pump called the MicroMed DeBakey Ventricular Assist Device. The VAD is based in part on the huge pumps that provide propellant to the space shuttle’s main engines. It is made by MicroMed Technology Inc., which licensed the technology from NASA.

The tiny pump weighs less than four ounces and just over an inch wide and about three inches long. It is designed to keep patients alive until a donor heart becomes available for transplant, to assist a weakened heart until it can recover, or as a permanent implant to improve a heart patient’s quality of life. After 32 VADs were implanted in Europe, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey and Dr. George Noon successfully performed the first U.S. VAD implant at Methodist Hospital in June 2000.

The new Echocardiography Laboratory at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston is another example of space technology helping heal people on Earth. The hospital looked at design elements and operations concepts of the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in designing the busy laboratory, which monitors young heart patients. The medical staff calls it their own Mission Control.

An application of space shuttle techniques is helping solve a long-standing problem of the offshore petroleum industry. Inspection Day exhibits gave Bernt Hellesoe, owner of Unitech International, the idea for his Multi Quick Connector. The connector joins electrical and hydraulic lines to subsea wellheads thousands of feet below the surface. The new device uses a two-step process, which improved reliability and reduced costs.

The mission of Johnson Space Center is the expansion of a human presence in space through exploration and utilization, for the benefit of all. Technology from space has found application throughout society - from energy, transportation and agriculture to medicine, communications and electronics.

Inspection 99 last November drew 2,500-plus guests from 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and 16 foreign countries. I2000 will be the fourth in a growing and increasingly successful series of the free yearly meetings designed to bring the benefits of space technology down to Earth.

To register and for more information visit http://inspection.jsc.nasa.gov, phone (281) 244-1316, fax (281) 483-9193 or e-mail inspection@jsc.nasa.gov. Even though the event is free, registration is required.

 

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