Space Technology Hall of Fame Inducts NASA Spinoff Technologies
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- During a ceremony at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on Thursday, the Space Foundation inducted into its Space Technology Hall of Fame two NASA-derived technologies that are making important contributions to fuel efficiency and infant health.
The technologies are an aerodynamic vehicle design for trucks and recreational vehicles that cuts drag by more than 50 percent and increases highway fuel economy by more than 20 percent, and an algae-based baby formula supplement that is particularly vital for premature and low-birth-weight infants. These technologies are being recognized as important products that originated from NASA technology.
Initially developed by engineers studying aerodynamics for the space shuttle at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California, the aerodynamic design modifications improve fuel efficiency in large trucks and have now been adopted around the world.
Image left: A cab over engine tractor trailer was leased by Dryden, tested, and modified to reduce aerodynamic drag.
The designs reduce wind resistance and aerodynamic drag, improving fuel efficiency for trucks, trailers, recreational vehicles, and many other large vehicles. Aerodynamic improvements from this research – which can be seen on highways across the country – can result in fuel savings of as much as 6,800 gallons per year for a single truck. This technology was featured in Spinoff 2008:
The second technology being honored was developed from an experiment at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley to explore the potential of algae as a recycling agent for long duration space travel.
Image left: Shown here is the Skylab food heating and serving tray with food, drink, and utensils. While this represented a great improvement over the food served on earlier space flights, NASA researchers still had plenty of room for progress.
This research evolved into a method for manufacturing an algae-based food supplement that provides nutrients beneficial to mental and visual development in premature infants. Martek Biosciences Corporation, in Columbia, Md., manufactures this supplement, a polyunsaturated fatty acid known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Infants acquire DHA initially in utero during pregnancy, and then from their diets via their mothers' milk. DHA dietary supplementation may be particularly important for premature and low birth weight infants. Martek’s DHA supplement can be found in more than 90 percent of the infant formulas sold in the United States, as well as those sold in more than 65 other countries. With such widespread use, the company estimates that more than 24 million babies worldwide have consumed its nutritional additives. The technology was also featured in Spinoff 2008:
"NASA appreciates and values the long history of cooperation with the Space Foundation and the Space Technology Hall of Fame,” said Doug Comstock, director of NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program. “Honoring the best of the best by induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame is well-deserved recognition for these great examples of how space technology makes important contributions to the lives of people in the U.S. and around the world."
The technologies being recognized by the Space Technology Hall of Fame are outstanding representatives of more than 1,600 NASA-derived technologies being put to work beyond their initial purpose in aeronautics and space exploration, for economic development and public benefit.
NASA's Innovative Partnership Program works to transfer NASA technologies for public benefit and documents some top examples in NASA’s Spinoff publication each year. The program, managed at NASA Headquarters in Washington, also provides needed technology and capabilities for NASA’s mission directorates, programs and projects through investments and partnerships with industry, academia, government agencies and national laboratories. There are Innovative Partnership Program offices at each of NASA’s ten field centers that facilitate partnerships for technology development and transfer.
For more information about NASA's IPP, visit:
For more information about NASA's Spinoff publication,
For a complete list of all Space Technology Hall of Fame inducted technologies, organizations, and individuals, visit: