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May 20, 2014
RELEASE S14-042
Space in our Lives with Local Ties Found in NASA Spinoff Publication

Transfer of NASA cutting-edge technologies to the private sector that benefit day-to-day life on Earth are being cultivated at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  

Whether it relates to monitoring forest changes, responding in a timely and coordinated manner to an emergency situation like a natural disasters or enabling more efficient equipment monitoring, Stennis has contributed significantly in all three areas, and then some.

The work of the south Mississippi center is spotlighted in NASA’s Spinoff 2013 publication, which highlights the transfer of NASA aerospace related technologies that are being used to benefit life on Earth.

Articles highlight the following Stennis-related spinoff technologies already in use beyond NASA:

ForWarn is a national forest monitoring system that functions as a near real-time early warning system to identify, characterize and track regional disturbances from potential forest threats. ForWarn was developed through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service, Stennis and other federal agencies, which resulted in the development of an early warning system no single agency could have produced on its own. ForWarn incorporates NASA satellite data to help scientists understand Earth better and to enable informed response to forest changes that could affect the environment. The system is being used by federal and state forest and natural resource managers across the country.

StormCenter Communication Inc. of Baltimore developed an improved interoperable platform for sharing geospatial data over the Internet in real-time; information that is critical for decision makers in emergency situations. In the past, agencies were not able to coordinate well because up-to-the-minute data could not be shared between the incompatible software systems used by the various agencies.  Software like GeoSync and GeoCollaborate technologies enable data sharing of information related to natural and manmade disasters and are game changers at that point, allowing organizations to share and merge real-time data sets regardless of the software systems they use. The technologies developed by StormCenter, in partnership with Stennis through NASA’s Small Business Innovative Research program, enabled these critical programs to share and manipulate data in near-real time, so decision makers could be better informed. The technology is available to commercial and government entities.

Lion Precision smart sensors were developed to help improve component monitoring capabilities used at the E Complex test stands at Stennis Space Center to help avert equipment failures. Testing rocket engines is no simple matter. A wide range of parameters must be monitored and maintained at all times. Equipment failure can result in significant problems and cause costly delays. Through a Stennis Cooperative Agreement, a team at Lion Precision of St. Paul, Minnesota, worked with Stennis to develop a smart sensor and associated communication protocol that enables test operators to quickly and more efficiently identify and address potential equipment problems in order to reduce costly test equipment failures. If an issue is reported in a timely enough manner, and the test operator is informed during an engine test that there is something that requires maintenance, a minor problem can be resolved before it becomes a major costly one. These diagnostic sensors are now commercially available for a variety of component monitoring uses.

In addition to those developments, the NASA Spinoff publication also cites “Spinoffs for Tomorrow,” which are industry-ready technologies that are currently available for licensing and partnership opportunities. The section features a pair of technologies developed at Stennis:

A patented in-situ measurement system for monitoring the performance of piezoelectronic sensors can be conducted with hand held test equipment or integrated into instrumentation systems. This measurement system allows sensor performance to be quickly and economically monitored without removing mounted sensors or sending them to a calibration lab. In this way, data that reflect the device’s specific physical configuration are retained, and devices that are essentially physically inaccessible, can still be tested. This testing system is not limited to identifying degraded performance in the sensor’s piezoelectric elements; it can detect changes within the entire sensor and sensor housing.

A moveable conical seat shutoff valve, which is used for controlling flow of a pressurized working fluid, was developed so that valve reliability is greatly improved and seat life increased by reducing downtime and maintenance costs. It is a remarkably simple design that eliminates the need for customary features, like the many seals used with existing ball valve and globe valve designs, as well as a valve stems and conventional actuators, which all commonly cause failure. This design can be adapted to various design needs, and is available for commercial applications.

The NASA 2013 publication features 41 spinoffs and 18 technologies of tomorrow.

To access Spinoff 2013 online, visit:

http://spinoff.nasa.gov/

For information about Stennis, visit:

www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis

Rebecca Strecker
Stennis Space Center, Miss.
228-688-3249
rebecca.a.strecker@nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: June 3rd, 2014
Page Editor: Deborah Fendley