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History of the ICB

The Board was formed to review waivers of title to inventions by NASA contractors and to award money for scientific and technical contributions that are of significant value in conducting aeronautical and space activities. Created by the original Space Act of 1958, the Board itself was a visionary, innovative, and historical concept that has continually chronicled NASA’s challenges and innovations.

Von Braun and JFK Looking Towards The Sky

The Board’s inception was visionary because there was little precedent. A forward-looking Congress recognized that if NASA was to achieve one of its chartered purposes—“the preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical and space science and technology”—then incentives must be given to the new agency’s scientists, engineers, and technologists to create and invent technologies that would be needed by the fledgling space program. Today, these contributors are honored with awards for innovations that have been reported in NASA Tech Briefs, software that have been approved by NASA for release to qualified users, and inventions that have received approval for patent applications by NASA under the Space Act.

ICB Award Archives

This visualization shows a heat transfer simulation on a fibrous felt-like material made from carbon/graphite using NASA’s Porous Microstructure Analysis (PuMA) software.

NASA ICB 2022 Awards

The Compact Thermal Imager shows large fires burning in the Gondwana Rainforests of New South Wales on Nov. 1, 2019, overlaid on a natural-color image acquired by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8.

NASA ICB 2021 Awards

Robo-Glove, invented by NASA and General Motors.

NASA ICB 2020 Awards

Miniature High-Speed Modulated X-Ray Source (MXS)

NASA ICB 2019 Awards

NASA PS/PM400: A New High Temperature Solid Lubricant Coating for High Temperature Wear Applications

NASA ICB 2018 Awards

Expedition-47 Crew Inside Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM)

NASA ICB 2017 Awards

Kennedy Space Center's Dr. Luke Roberson applies hydrogen detection tape on a connector joint on a cross-country feed line.

NASA ICB 2016 Awards

NEQAIR team from Ames Research Center

NASA ICB 2015 Awards

Koichi Wakata

NASA ICB 2014 Awards

Three representations of MSL autonomous navigation: operators bound the space, the rover interprets the terrain, and a 3D view of the rover in a similar terrain.

NASA ICB 2013 Awards

QuakeSim deformation tools were used to calculate permanent ground motions from the Aug. 23, 2011, magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, VA. The earthquake was widely felt up and down the East Coast of the United States.

NASA ICB 2012 Awards

Results from an AEGIS data collection session onboard Opportunity. On the left is shown the selected rock target, captured in three color filters using the Mars Exploration Rover Panoramic Camera. On the right is the original target selection in a wide-angle image taken by the rover's navigation camera.

NASA ICB 2011 Awards

Jon Jenkins, Natalie Batalha and Bill Borucki discuss Kepler data on the hyperwall.

NASA ICB 2010 Awards

World Wind screen shot

NASA ICB 2009 Awards

The MILT unit mounted on a robot

NASA ICB 2008 Awards

Artist concept of thermal protection systems and low-density resin impregnated ceramics on a reentry capsule.

NASA ICB 2007 Awards

screen capture of FACET software

NASA ICB 2006 Awards

Micrograph of nano-ion emulsion.

NASA ICB 2005 Awards

Simulation performed using TetrUSS 2004 for advanced commercial transport concept.

NASA ICB 2004 Awards

A screenshot taken during SeaDAS’s beta testing phase.

NASA ICB 2003 Awards

Screenshot of Cart3D in action.

NASA ICB 2002 Awards

2001 Ventricular Assist Device

NASA ICB 2001 Awards

NASA Meatball with earth in the background

NASA ICB 2000 Awards

NASA Meatball with earth in the background

NASA ICB 1999 Awards