National Aeronautics and Space Arfminiqtration A B I C E N T E N N I A L R E P O R T National Aeronautics & Space Administration Technology Utilization Office by Neil P. Ruzic, National Space Institute TECHNOLOGY UTILIZATION PROGRAM REPORT Acknowledgments: Todd Anuskiewicz, Informatics Information Systems Co., for coordinating the prep- aration of this report; F. Douglas Johnson, Denver Research Institute, for supplying much of the infor- mation; and Rob Shultz, Plumridge Advertising. R e p r i n t e d A p r i 1 1976 This report is divided into three sections: 1. The Research Payoff, 2. Technology Twice Used, and 3. Technology Utilization at Work. The first describes a wide variety of current space spinoffs of use to you in your business or personal life, as well as the space explorations from which they have been derived. The second provides information on specific examples of technology transfer that are typical of the spinoffs resulting from NASA's Technology Utilization Program. The third briefly describes the different activities of the Technology Utilization Office, all of which have as their purpose the profitable utilization of aerospace technology. Please address inquiries to the director, Technology Utilization Office, NASA Scientific & Technical Information Facility, P.O. 8756, Baltimore/Washington Airport, Md. 21240. As we celebrate our bicentennial year, we reflect upon the dramatic changes our nation has undergone during these two centuries. From a nation dependent upon Europe for its machinery and technology, we have grown to a position of preemi- nence that i s the envy of the world. Our space program has been a demonstration of that preeminence. Looking ahead, it i s apparent that we cannot rest if we are to maintain our leadership. Other countries are rising rapidly to challenge our lead. Meeting this challenge requires all available resources-and technology i s one of our primary national resources. NASA's technology utilization program has been developed to assure that the benefits of technology are available to all sectors of our national economy. The process of space transfer began as an experiment. Written into the law that created NASA in 1958, the space agency was called upon to provide "the most effective utilization of the scientific and engineering resources of the United States." Could technology developed for one use be applied successfully to other fields? Would it pay for itself in time? Nothing of this scope had been tried before. The mission of NASA was civilian from the start. Its primary goal, to explore space, already has made significant contributions to improved communications, weather forecasting, and to our understanding of the universe. Its secondary mission, although less well-known, also has been successful. Technology developed by NASA has been applied to thousand of products and processes throughout the nation. Successful applications grow each year. But we believe that much more can be done to improve the transfer process, and are dedicated to making it happen. Transfers of aerospace technology to non-aerospace use are all around us. And-yes-they have more than paid for the cost of space exploration. Describing these benefits, and how they affect Americans in this 200th anniversary year, i s the purpose of this report. /' Edward Z. Gray, assistant administrator Industry Affairs and Technology Utilization Office National Aeronautics & Space Administration January 1976 Spinoff 1976 a bicentennial report Foreword, by Edward Z. Gray, NASA 3 The Research Payoff The Spinoff Stimulus 6 Exploring the Solar System 8 Your Job 19 Your Health 23 Your Mobility 27 Your Home 3 1 Your Environment 35 Your Future 45 Technology Twice Used Industrial Productivity 50 Medical Instrumentation 54 Medical Systems 58 Construction 62 Safety 66 Transportation 72 Energy 74 Pollution Control 76 Natural Resources 78 Recreation 82 Technology Utilization at Work Catalyzers of Technology Transfer 92 Getting the Word Out 92 Patents for the Asking 95 Search Before Research 95 Computer Programs 99 Matching Technology with Public Needs 100 Back to the Laboratory 101 Intergovernmental Cooperation 102 Small Companies Benefit 102 Space exploration is a self-fundtikg pursuit o f the unknown. the most potential-filled endeavor in history. b sy2.Tf I't the spinoff stimulus Not only have men climbed the lunar craters. Not only have robot spaceships measured other planets. Most space benefits accrue directly to us on our own planet. Today we educate the world via communications satellites. We prospect for oil with land-resource satellites. We keep the tundra frozen with spacecraft-derived heat pipes, making the Alaskan pipeline r C- . - r, ' . possible. Our damaged hearts are run by - 7 C .. '4 pacemakers, our ailments diagnosed by computer. Highways are grooved to prevent !% . -skidding. Bridges soon may be protected ', 'from corrosion. Better lubricants, more , . - , .powerful solar cells, more efficiently F* s . . * <,:,- designed railroad cars have been spun from ;. ...*'. . . space technology. Thousands of technical 3innovations are the payoff after 18 years in space. , . Examples of how our national investment in space research and technology pays off will be described here, first as social, political, and economic stimuli and then in the exploration of space for i ts own pur- poses. The "research payoff" continues with current cases of space spinoffs that affect your job, your health, your mobility, your home, your environment, and your future. Technology: currency of foreign affairs Few human undertakings in the modern world are so important as the development of technology. And yet few subjects are so little understood. When you think of technology you think of machines. But it should be emphasized that technology, or the practi- cal utilization of science, today is applied outside of industrial life too. Consider, as a start, how space technology has been spun off to improve our rela- tionships with other countries. Technology-of which the space program has become a leading generator-is now a currency of foreign affairs. It i s a tool of advanced nations and a hope for underdeveloped ones. The National Aero- nautics & Space Administration has helped at least 75 countries by exchanging technical information, launching their satellites, sharing communications and data derived from our own satellites, and con- ducting foreign experiments on our spacecraft. Pace setters in a free society A free society needs pace setters in multiple activities. The alternative is mediocrity. No other technological endeavor has set-and met-as high standards as are required in the space program. The term "zero defects" i s an invention of space technol- ogy in which machines must function perfectly in the almost impossible environments of vacuum and temperature extremes. And yet all that represents just some of the indirect benefits of space technology. Space has its own purposes, targets, and destiny. Space technol- ogy already is accomplishing things that cannot otherwise be done economically, or perhaps done at all. This is happening in satellite monitoring of the weather, global communications, navigation, ocean- ography, meteorology, geology, astronomy, and of course exploration of the solar system. Dollar returns from our tax penny If you ask the man in the street how much the space program costs the country, his guess is likely to be $20-billion a year. That's the figure he's heard and it sticks in his mind. That amount was the cost of nine years of the program to land men on the moon before the end of the decade of the sixties. As such, it was the primary cost of building our spaceport, tracking stations, and overall space capability. It i s a remarkable, often-overlooked fact that the pursuit of space goals generates innovations in virtu- Whatever stimulates massive scient will benefit all science, for what science mos can command the attention, respec ally all fields of science and technology, and there- fore helps stimulate progress in areas not even re- motely connected to the original program. The use of the words "virtually all" is intentional. It is difficult to imagine a scientific discipline or area of technol- ogy that has not contributed to the space program- and vice versa. Whatever stimulates massive scientific inquiry in all disciplines will benefit all science, for what science mostly needs is a focal point that can command the attention, respect, and dollars of the world. With 90% of all scientists ever born still alive and working today, with the rate of scientific and technological advancement accelerating now in geometric pro- gression, the real world of solvable problems cries for a standard bearer, a stimulus, and a goal. If you accept this broad view of spinoff, then the many benefits attributable to the space stimulus are difficult to measure in their entirety, so thoroughly have they pervaded our lives. Yet, so many benefits have accrued that even the direct generation of new products, processes, and whole new technologies and industries is impressive. In attempting to quantify the benefits to the national economy from secondary applications of space technology, economists last year traced the spinoff of four broad NASA programs. They esti- mated that secondary benefits in these areas will return $7-billion to the economy in a 14- to 20-year period-more than twice NASA's current annual budget. Another recent study showed that each new dollar invested annually on space research and de- velopment would return $23 over a 10-year period (see "Your job," below). Spinoff really works-but not as an isolated phenomenon. The research payoff is a fact of mod- ern American life, interwoven with the direct bene- fits of space and our entire technology. Because of spinoff, we can define space exploration as a self- funding pursuit of the unknown, the most potential- filled endeavor in history. Some day, spinoff may acquire an even more expanded meaning. It may include new crops hy- bridized with plants native to other planets. Or even knowledge transferred by communicating with intel- ligent life in other solar systems. Before discussing some of today's specific pro- duds that have been spun off from space technol- ogy, it may be of interest to describe just what we are spinning off from. nguiry in all disciplines needs is a focal point that and dollars of the world. The exploration of the solar system began with observations from space of our own planet. It started 19 years ago shortly after Sputnik roared its way into the consciousness of people throughout the world. Since then thousands of satellites built by dozens of countries have been launched, with the U.S. main- taining space leadership by a wide margin. It's not who's first that counts, as Columbus proved. It's who's first with a difference. The fact that Soviets were first with a satellite or that we landed men first on the moon is of little relative importance. The difference is that we landed men six times, returning human observations that will keep scien- tists busy for years, and that our satellites now assist in solving a multitude of world problems. We have built a space capability and have begun the explora- tion of the solar system, opening a new era of civilization. Servants in space If outerspace exploration represents knowledge , for tomorrow, the earth satellites are the workhorse machines of today. At the beginning of 1976 there was a swarm of about 750 satellites operating in earth orbit, 375 of them launched by the United States. Among the many uses of these servants in space are weather forecasting, communications, scientific data gathering, solar observation, and prospecting and management of natural resources. I Good weather forecasting saves money. An accu- rate five-day forecast, which may be possible as satellite technology progresses, has been estimated to save up to $5.5-billion yearly in the U.S. alone, and as much as $15-billion for the entire world. The savings would be in agriculture, construction, trans- portation, recreation, and other industries. Today's satellite system of weather watchers provides pictures of cloud cover over the globe both day and night. It contributes significantly to accuracy First virtually continuous day-night photographs of a hurricane in the making were taken in 1974 by meteorological satellite inf ixed orbit. Satellites are helping unravel how hurricances and tornadoes form as first step in their possible control. Dramatic photo is hurricane Gladys stalled near Naples, Fla. in 1968. A vigorous updraft hid the storm's eye by flattening cloudtops against cold stable air of the tropopause and forming a pancake of cirrostratus 10 miles wide.