Inventions and Contributions Board Annual Reports
Message from the NASA Chief Engineer
One of the more satisfying functions of the NASA Chief Engineer is to coordinate the recognition of outstanding NASA scientific and engineering aerospace accomplishments.
Fifty years ago, the authors of the National Aeronautics and Space Act
(Pub. L. No. 85-568) had the foresight to set an "inventions and contributions" program in motion, and it continues to enhance the winning combination of the skilled NASA workforce and their challenging missions. Since then, the NASA Space Act Awards program has had an aggressive inventor-recognition philosophy.
The 21-member NASA Inventions and Contributions Board (ICB) and four staff members cull the huge array of NASA inventions and bring the best to light. Without this activity, many of the diverse accomplishments would undoubtedly go unnoticed in the undercurrents of our research activities.
The world-class NASA engineers and scientists often do not request or require recognition and are content to serve the Agency with the satisfaction of discovery and the knowledge that they have done their jobs well. To stop there, however, would be to deprive their peers and the Nation of the wonder of these new achievements. The Nation needs to know what is done behind the scenes to make technology work and to accomplish what it does, so each year NASA produces an ICB Annual Report to showcase the Invention of the Year and Software of the Year exceptional cases.
We hope you will enjoy reading the following reports. As you will see, many of the inventions have very specific scientific uses, and some have the potential to change everyday life in a number of ways. Some are the results of entire careers of steady work, while others come from flashes of inspiration or the impetus of a new enabling technological development. NASA needs all kinds of inventions to accomplish new missions and raise the bar on scientific discovery, so NASA program and project managers are encouraged to use the Space Act Awards program as a vehicle to spur on discovery in every level of their organizations.