Features

Cordless Power Tools
Did NASA invent cordless power tools?
No. The first cordless power tool was unveiled by Black & Decker in 1961. In the mid-1960s, Martin Marietta Corporation contracted with Black & Decker to design tools for NASA. The tool company developed a zero-impact wrench for the Gemini project that spun bolts in zero gravity without spinning the astronaut. Black & Decker also designed a cordless rotary hammer drill for the Apollo moon program. The drill was used to extract rock samples from the surface of the moon and could operate at extreme temperatures and in zero-atmosphere conditions. Before the zero-impact wrench and rotary hammer drill could go into space, they needed to be tested in anti-gravity conditions. Black & Decker and NASA tested the tools either under water or in transport planes that would climb to the highest possible altitude and then nosedive to simulate anti-gravity conditions. As a result of this work, Black & Decker created several spinoffs, including cordless lightweight battery powered precision medical instruments and a cordless miniature vacuum cleaner called the Dustbuster, but cordless power tools predate the Space Agency's involvement with the company.
Find this article at:
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ipp/home/myth_tools.html