The final launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis last Friday marked the end of an incredible era of technological innovation – not just for the aerospace industry but for all of man (and woman) kind. We’ve come a long way since Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon in 1969.
All told, NASA boasts some 1,600 documented technologies that, since 1976, have benefited and improved our quality of life in numerous ways. NASA technology, much of which was developed by private contractors, has been used in everything from food, to NASCAR to Olympic swimwear. These technologies span the consumer products, industrial, environmental and transportation sectors, among others.
According to NASA, the Space Shuttle program has contributed more than 100 technology ‘spin-offs’ that have, in one way or another, benefited all of us. Some of those technologies include:
- From Rockets to Racecars
- GPS Software Packages Deliver Positioning Solutions
- Modeling Tools Predict Flow in Fluid Dynamics
NASA-driven ingenuity has also contributed to many new innovations in the water technology arena, such as water purification and other inventions you may use on a daily basis. So now the big question is where do we go from here for our next several decades of innovation?
While the jury is still out on what role NASA and other countries space programs will play in the future, it is clear that private industry will have to step up its innovation game. At ITT we are constantly looking at new innovation for moving and conserving water more effectively.
As famed American computer scientist Alan Key says, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Maybe the Forward Osmosis Bag (FOB) system, which is designed to convert dirty water into a liquid that is safe to drink using a semi-permeable membrane and a concentrated sugar solution will be used as we reach for the stars in future space flights on Virgin Galactic.
What are your thoughts about the Space Shuttle program and the future of innovation?