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spinoff 1979Technology is knowledge, the technical "know-how" employed by a society to produce things that improve the quality of human life. Like other forms of knowledge, it is transferable; once developed, technology can be applied to uses different-and often remote-from the original application. Thus, the technology that NASA has developed in more than two decades of space and aeronautical research constitutes a valuable national resource, a bank of knowledge available for secondary utilization, or "spinoff." NASA mainline programs, by their challenging nature, are particularly demanding of technological advance; meeting their goals has forced extraordinary advancements in virtually every scientific and technological discipline. For that reason, the wealth of aerospace-generated knowledge available for transfer is exceptionally diverse, and much of it is readily applicable to secondary use over a broad spectrum of public needs and conveniences. Through its Congressionally mandated Technology Utilization Program, NASA seeks to promote wider use of this technological resource. The program provides a link between the technology bank and those in either the private or public sectors who might be able to re-use the technology productively. Its aim is to accelerate the transfer process, to bring to the marketplace sooner those spinoffs which might eventually occur in the normal course of events, and to gain thereby more immediate economic benefit in terms of new products and new jobs. The program has been remarkably successful. Since its inception 17 years ago, thousands of spinoff products and processes have emerged. Some of these innovations bring only moderate increments of economic gain or lifestyle improvement, but many others amount to significant public benefits, with economic values often running to millions of dollars. Collectively, spinoffs provide a substantial bonus return on the funds invested in aerospace research. This publication is intended to increase public awareness of the resource that is NASA's technology bank and its potential for further public benefit. It is devoted primarily to the NASA technology transfer process, but in the interests of perspective it also describes related areas of NASA endeavor. Section 1 consists of a resume of NASA's current mainline programs. These programs are producing direct public benefit through direct application of technology; at the same time, they are contributing to indirect benefit-spinoff-by generating new technology which may find secondary application in the future. Section 2 is the focal point of this volume. It contains a representative sampling of spinoff products and processes employed in various avenues of everyday life, and it describes briefly the NASA technology from which these transfers derived. Section 3 details the mechanisms of the technology transfer process, including the means by which NASA seeks to stimulate technology utilization. Also described are NASA's activities in a related area of technology transfer: provision of assistance to agencies interested in exploiting the benefit potential of satellite remote sensing technology.
Document ID
Document Type
Other - Collected Works
Haggerty, James J.
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1979
Subject Category
Technology Utilization and Surface Transportation
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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