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Great video and photo. A one of a kind aircraft. Some of these airframes are parked all around the world now in SEA, CDG, MAN, BGI, NYC, etc but still look like something from the future.

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One would think that with the evolution of technology since the 60's we should be able to build an efficient one today.

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Similar to going to the moon the cost vs benefits of supersonic Transport and sending a man back to the moon just don't make sense in today's economic climate. I am sure glad it made sense back in the 60's. What a decade for air/space.

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Things that I question.....

Any future space travel....(colonize Mars ?...has anyone seriously thought this through ?)

The ISS ....... The benefits have been few......... at  great expense

While these two  functions create jobs, the money expended could have done so much more here on the Big Blue Marble to advance the well being of those who inhabit this globe.


.Hard hat and respirator on...flame away..:dueling:

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"While these two  functions create jobs, the money expended could have done so much more here on the Big Blue Marble to advance the well being of those who inhabit this globe.

How so?


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11 minutes ago, DEFCON said:

How so?


The first two that come to mind are................. medical issues....................... and pollution control.

.Global warming???? (not sure about that), but the excessive pollution, (on land and sea),  and lack of worldwide recycling is turning this place into a garbage dump.

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Studies have shown the NASA programs over the years has put more money back into the economy than the program cost and created thousands of jobs.

My favourite invention from all of this is the MRI machine. Helped diagnose our son as a youngster when he was very sick.


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Hmmmm.   I guess whether this has been a worthy endeavour or not is in individual belief.

In my opinion, were it not for the space programs, organizations like NASA would not have made the contributions they have. It's just one example, but I would argue that NASA plays a major role in real world solutions today, with a tool kit that would not have been justified if not for its need in space. (Edited to add, I had not seen your post blues when I wrote mine, but clearly agree)

Simple little things - One of the very first 'PC' sized computers was made by TRW.  TRW was a satellite manufacturer, who took the knowledge from the need to shrink and lighten electronics, while managing heat dissipation in a constrained environment, and built something that could sit on a desk.  I still remember standing an a room the size of a small city block, with an IBM 360 taking most of the room, and this thing sitting on a desk with about 80% of the same power.  Of course, now my iPhone would blow both platforms away.

I strongly believe that, without something to ignite and focus our imagination on, we risk becoming unimaginitive.  That, to me, would be a very bad thing, because this world continues to pose challenges that we need to think about creatively.  Not all of those problems are of our making.

But, it is just my opinion.


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On 5/9/2017 at 4:45 PM, boestar said:

One would think that with the evolution of technology since the 60's we should be able to build an efficient one today.

It appears that there is one on it's way.  https://boomsupersonic.com/airlines/

Aircraft Startup Boom Raises $33 Million To Bring Back Supersonic Flights At Business Class Prices

Alex Knapp ,  


I write about the future of science, technology, and culture.  


Boom Supersonic

Artist rendering of a Boom jet in flight.

Boom Supersonic is the a rare kind of startup - they aim to build airplanes. Not small, private planes, either. They aim to build the big passenger airplanes for the big airliners. And not just any big airplanes. They're aiming to bring back supersonic speeds - for a fraction of the cost it took to take the Concorde before it finally stopped flying in 2003. But even beyond that, the company dreams of bringing big innovations back to the aerospace industry.

"In the 50 years since the Wright Brothers, there was tons of progress," Boom CEO Blake Scholl said. "But in the past 50 years, we've regressed. Today's fastest aircraft is slower than the best models of the 1960s."

His company just got a nice chunk of change to bring that progress back. It just closed a series A round of $33 million, with participants such as Y Combinator's Continuity Fund, RRE Ventures, Palm Drive Ventures, 8VC and Caffeinated Capital. Y Combinator President Sam Altman will be joining the company's board of directors, along with investor Greg McAdoo. The round brings the startup's total funding up to $41 million.


Goal number one for this round of capital? Building Boom's first test airplane, the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator. It will be a 1/3 scale version of their production model jet, and Scholl says that its first test flight is "about a year away."

For Scholl, building a new class of supersonic jets is part of a lifelong dream.

"I've loved airplanes since I was a kid. I've been flying for fun since college," he said. "The Concorde shut down in my early 20s so I never got a chance to fly it. But I did work at Amazon and other technology companies, where I saw nothing but progress. But in aerospace, here we had an advanced capability and regressed. That never happens!"


Even as he was working on his last startup, Kima Labs, Scholl maintained his interest. "I set a Google alert for supersonic jets because I wanted to know who was working on them. It was mostly crickets."

The Boom Supersonic team

Boom Supersonic

The Boom Supersonic team

After he sold Kima Labs to Groupon and mulled over his decision about what kind of company to start next, supersonic jets didn't move far from his mind.

"I looked into it and realized that everyone wants a faster flight," he said. "Airlines want it. Passengers want it. The Concorde didn't work because it was a gas guzzler, which made flights expensive. So as a starting point, I looked to see if it was possible to bring flight costs down to business class. It turns out all the data I needed to analyze the problem was on Wikipedia."

That was the key that made him realize that a supersonic aircraft was possible - all the technology was out there. It just needed to be put together in the right way. Boom's engineers look at major innovations that the aerospace industry has used in service of fuel efficiency and applies them instead to making a faster airplane. Advances in aerodynamics, carbon fiber composites and engine design are all being taken advantage of for supersonic speeds.

Another key, adds Scholl, is computer simulation, which drastically aids the design and engineering process.

"It used to be that every design had to be tested in a wind tunnel," he said. "And then there would end up being 6 months between iterations as airplanes were tested. But today you can simulate those six months with 30 minutes in the cloud. We've had the equivalent of a thousand wind tunnel tests already compared to about a dozen for the Concorde."

If this process of combining off-the-shelf technology and modern techniques in the service of an ambitious goal sounds like a move from the Elon Musk playbook, Scholl wouldn't mind the comparison. "We want to do for commercial aviation what SpaceX has done for rockets."

That enthusiasm and ambition, Scholl says, has also allowed him to attract a significant amount of talent to Boom's engineering team. "This is our Chief Engineer's seventh airplane. We have engineers from SpaceX who built the Falcon 9 rocket. The thing of it is, if you're in aerospace and you just want to build a better airplane, you could go to Boeing. Or you could come to Boom and work on something you can tell your grandkids about."  https://boomsupersonic.com/

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Google Alerts and Wikipedia as your research department and The Cloud as your wind tunnel; I am sure there is more substance to this program than current pop culture buzz words :blink:

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JL, you are right there but there are others who seem more creditable.

The dream of resuming supersonic flight ramps up

  • 16 May, 2017
  • SOURCE: Flightglobal.com
  • BY: Stephen Trimble
  • Washington DC

Fourteen years after the retirement of the Aerospatiale/BAC Concorde, the dream of resuming civilian supersonic flight has seemed never more active than in 2017, with four major development efforts scheduled to pass key milestones before the year ends. Activity stretches across laboratories, boardrooms and assembly hangars dotted across the USA.

In Cleveland, Ohio, NASA’s Glenn Research Center is evaluating the aerodynamic characteristics of a preliminary design by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works for a jet called QueSST, shaped to muffle the double-crack thunder created by a supersonic shockwave, otherwise known as the sonic boom.

In Boston, start-up Spike Aerospace, funded mainly by Wall Street investors, is developing a subsonic demonstrator version of the supersonic S512 business jet scheduled for first delivery in 2023. Nearly 2,000 miles away in Denver, Colorado, rival start-up Boom – with financing from Silicon Valley, New York and London-based investors – is assembling the XB-1 supersonic demonstrator, with subsonic flight tests scheduled to begin by late 2017 to support an entry-into-service date in 2023.

Amidst these headline-grabbing projects, it’s perhaps forgivable to forget the company in Reno, Nevada, that has been working to conquer the challenge of civilian supersonic flight since a year before Concorde was retired. With the personal backing of oil billionaire Robert Bass and a partnership with Airbus Defence and Space, Aerion plans to soon select the engines that will power the AS2, the supersonic trijet unveiled in 2014.

Despite the flurry of activity this year, several fundamental questions about the feasibility of commercial supersonic travel are yet to be answered – not least is the question of financing. Spike has not disclosed how much funding it has received, but Boom has announced taking in a total of $41 million so far. As impressive as that is for any start-up, it’s the proverbial drop in the bucket towards creating a passenger-carrying aircraft with a level of performance unmatched anywhere in the industry today.

How big is that development and certification bucket? Aerion senior vice-president and chief financial officer Ernest Edwards offers a general estimate: “It’s probably a $4 billion operation.”

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Supersonic propulsion has existed for nearly 70 years, but the challenges of applying it to a commercial business model remain extraordinarily high. In the event that a company identifies the optimal airframe and engine combination and development goes smoothly, the manufacturer must still create a global support infrastructure that meets the requirements of a very demanding customer base.

“Progress may seem slow to the outside world,” Edwards says. “It’s not as easy as you think, and this all takes time.”

The new crop of private supersonic start-ups demonstrates that interest in the capability of supersonic travel has never wavered, but the challenges have not become easier to solve. In many ways, the task is harder now than in Concorde’s early days.

“Probably more significant today are landing and take-off restrictions,” Edwards says. “Those restrictions were faced by Concorde. It was blackballed in many countries throughout the world. Those requirements are far, far more stringent [now] than they were in those days. These are the challenges that exist.”

If American and European bans on sonic booms over populated areas are not repealed, can the market support a business jet that flies faster than the speed of sound only over water? Assuming such a market exists, is it possible for a large supersonic jet to meet community noise regulations during take-off and climb-out? Finally, will any of the industry’s three engine manufacturers step forward to develop a supersonic engine?

Aerion expects to soon learn the answer to the last question. The company launched in 2002, with Bass’s support for an aircraft that could benefit from decades of research by Richard Tracy, who conceived a design for the first natural laminar flow wing at supersonic speed. The global financial crisis that paralysed parts of the business aviation industry from 2008 to 2011 delayed the development of the original Aerion jet. By the time the company was ready to resume development, community noise regulations had become more severe, ruling out Aerion’s preferred propulsion system – Pratt & Whitney’s JT8D. Meanwhile, a new market survey recommended a shift from trans-Atlantic range to trans-Pacific.

Aerion re-opened negotiations with engine suppliers in 2014 as the AS2 concept was unveiled at EBACE. The company originally targeted engine selection in 2016, but the talks continue with no public timetable set for reaching a conclusion.

“We do have dates on the calendar by which time we’re hoping that we had engine selection. There’s a lot of timing that goes on after that announcement. I think we’d all agree that the sooner the better,” says Ernest Edwards, Aerion’s senior vice-president and chief commercial officer. “I don’t want to make a rushed decision. It’s a big decision. It’s a decision the whole airplane rests on and it has to be the right engine.”

For more than a year, Aerion has insisted that a “couple” of commercial turbofan engines had been proposed that could be modified for a supersonic application. The company has not named the suppliers, but GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce have expressed interest in the commercial supersonic market. Both companies have deep experience with supersonic engines – although both are also struggling to cope with existing commitments in the subsonic commercial market.

“The manufacturers have to come back to us and say, ‘This is what we can give you, and this is how much it costs and this is when we can deliver it to you’,” Edwards says.

The task of persuading the engine manufacturers to commit to the supersonic market could be tricky. Pratt & Whitney supported the original design with a modified version of the JT8D, but backed away from expressing interest as Aerion redesigned the AS2 and switched to quieter engines. Still, Aerion believes other manufacturers are ready to propose modified versions of off-the-shelf powerplants.

Asset Image

Boom promises subsonic demonstrator flights this year and entry-into-service in 2023


“There are engines in use today that can be modified and adapted for what we need to do. Given that’s the fact, it’s incremental business [for the manufacturers],” Edwards says. “I think that’s how they look at it. I don’t think they’d be talking to us if this wasn’t something they were interested in getting into.”

Despite the absence of a public timetable, Aerion is under pressure to finalise an agreement with an engine partner. New and even stricter community noise regulations take effect in 2017 for aircraft that weigh more than 54,400kg (120,000lb). The new standards make it even harder to select an engine with an inlet fan narrow enough to supply enough thrust to cruise at supersonic speed, yet wide enough to provide the fuel efficiency required to enable trans-Pacific range.

The AS2 is designed to weigh less than 54,400kg, but Aerion’s engineering team is aware that aircraft weights tend to grow through the development and certification process. In the past, Aerion’s plan was to file an application for airworthiness certification to the US Federal Aviation Administration in 2016, allowing the aircraft to be grandfathered under the previous take-off noise standard even if the design weight crosses the 54,400kg threshold. That plan is no longer possible because of the delays in the engine selection process.

“If you’d have asked the question a year or 18 months ago we’d say that was still the plan,” Edwards says. “But you’ve got to prepare for Plan B.”

For Aerion, Plan B means designing the AS2 to stay under the 54,400kg limit, while preparing to meet the stricter standard for take-off noise. That can be a tall order for an aircraft with a G450-sized passenger cabin and the capability of cruising at Mach 1.4 from San Francisco to Tokyo.

Aerion designed the AS2 to fly up to 4,700nm at Mach 1.4 or 5,300nm at Mach 0.95. The latter speed may be subsonic but it’s still 0.03 Mach faster than the Gulfstream G650. However, If the AS2 is required to meet the take-off community noise standards that become effective this year for aircraft over 54,400kg, the company might have to start thinking about trade-offs.

“Do we want A or B? To get the same range, do we sacrifice a little bit of speed? Based on the analysis that we continue to do, 4,750nm is our goal,” Edwards says. “It’s not a deal-killer if we don’t reach 4,750nm for whatever reason. As we study the flights – long range and ultra-long-range in the widebody [business jet] category, we’re surprised by the data we’re seeing, and how infrequently the maximum ranges are ever used. We do want to go faster.”

Such are the challenges for even a well-financed, committed engineering team that has dedicated more than 15 years to solving the problem of commercial supersonic flight. Although start-ups Boom and Spike promise to deliver a certificated aircraft within six years, the road can be long and filled with unexpected twists – not unlike the subsonic business aviation industry.

It’s an industry Aerion’s executive team knows well. Forty years ago, Tracy was the chief engineer for the LearAvia Lear Fan, a composite, turboprop-powered business aircraft that failed in development. He then performed advanced design work on the LearFan 600 business jet, which, after multiple twists and turns, entered service in 1980 as the Canadair CL-600 Challenger, which remains in production today with Bombardier.

By the 1990s, Tracy had launched a new concept for a supersonic natural laminar flow wing. Only a handful of aircraft in history have been designed to cruise at supersonic speed without afterburners, including the Convair B-58, Lockheed SR-71 and Concorde. But each of those designs suffered from heavy fuel consumption that limited range. One of the problems driving the fuel consumption was a wing design in which a smooth flow of air too easily transitions into drag-inducing turbulent streams.

Tracy set out to solve this problem when he formed the Asset Research Group in 1991. Three years later, he patented a design for a supersonic natural laminar flow that departs from the standard delta wing planform found on most commercial and military aircraft designed for supersonic cruise. Instead, Tracy proposed an extremely thin wing swept at an angle shallower than the angle of the supersonic shockwave, preventing the formation of spanwise subsonic flows that easily trip a smooth airflow into turbulent. Such a design, Tracy theorised, could reduce the drag caused by the wing by 50% in supersonic cruise.

Eight years later, Tracy found a financial backer in Bass, who relaunched Asset Research Group as Aerion Corporation. Since 2002, Tracy and his team have been steadily working out the details of the supersonic natural laminar flow wing. With NASA’s support, Aerion initially performed a demonstration of supersonic natural laminar flow in a wind tunnel. A second series of wind tunnel tests examined the effect on laminar flow of manufacturing tolerances for flush rivets and joints. A NASA-owned Boeing F-15 flew supersonic test flights with a subscale wing panel to verify the wind tunnel data. Along the way, Aerion has developed a database of software with design codes for supersonic aircraft, a repository that mostly does not exist outside of the most experienced military aircraft designers.

After 15 years, Aerion finds itself in the unusual position of being a veteran start-up business, still chasing the dream of fielding the original product. As far as the company has come since 2002, the path to certification and delivery remains long and uncertain.

“You can’t get that money back,” Ernest says. “So there’s only one way forward.”

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On 5/9/2017 at 9:46 PM, Kip Powick said:

. . . .

The ISS ....... The benefits have been few......... at  great expense

.. . .

.Hard hat and respirator on...flame away..:dueling:

Hi Kip,

Benefits have been few? I do believe that velcro was invented for the space program.

Years from now you will be happy to have velcro pants, shirts, shoes and slippers. You may not remember the space program, but you will benefit from it.

:m::glare:  :b::D


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46 minutes ago, John S. said:

Hi Kip,

Benefits have been few? I do believe that velcro was invented for the space program.

Years from now you will be happy to have velcro pants, shirts, shoes and slippers. You may not remember the space program, but you will benefit from it.

:m::glare:  :b::D


The VELCRO® brand of hook and loop was invented by a man named George de Mestral in the 1940's while hunting in the Jura mountains in Switzerland. Mr. de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, realized that the tiny hooks of the cockle-burs were stuck on his pants and in his dog's fur and wondered how they attached themselves.

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In honor of the end of NASA’s 30 Year Space Shuttle program, we came across a list of things invented as a direct result of NASA’s space program!

Check it out!

According to The Independent, here are 50 everyday items we use that were developed by the space program:


1.The hand-held vacuum cleaner

2.Air-cushioned trainers

In the early 1980s, a process known as “blow rubber molding” was used to produce space helmets. Using this technology, former Nasa engineer Frank Rudy pitched an idea for an in-trainer shock absorber to the Nike Corporation. He envisaged a trainer with hollow soles filled with shock-absorbing material to cushion the impact of running. Rudy’s idea included a pad of interconnected air cells and the resulting trainer was called the Nike Air.

3.Firefighter breathing apparatus

Before 1971, the average weight of breathing apparatus was more than 30 pounds. Carrying the extra weight was so physically grueling that some firefighters opted to attack flames without any equipment. However, engineers at Nasa adapted the life-support systems used in spacesuits for use by emergency services. Four years later, experts had designed apparatus that weighed a third less and offered better fit and visibility.

4.Blankets for marathon runners

In 1964, Nasa developed a material capable of reflecting heat very effectively – a thin sheet of plastic coated with a metallic reflecting agent, usually gold or silver in color. Used as a blanket, it reflects about 80 per cent of the wearer’s body-heat back to them. It’s used to keep accident victims warm, and by marathon runners after the finish.

5.Safer runways

Nasa researchers discovered that cutting thin grooves across concrete runways reduces the risk of an aircraft aquaplaning after landing. Excess water drains along the grooves, increasing tire friction in wet conditions. The expertise has been adopted by airport operating authorities around the world.

6.Pill transmitters

Pill transmitters swallowed by astronauts to check their temperature and blood pressure are undergoing trials to be used as a way to monitor the health of fetuses in the womb. These pill-shaped gadgets can be used to monitor body temperature, pressure and other vital signs.

7.Faster racing cars

Carbon fiber was invented by the British in the 1960s (at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough), but was given a boost by its use in space flight. Carbon-fiber-reinforced graphite is used in the nose cone of the Space Shuttle. Strong, light and heat resistant, it is found in everything from tennis rackets to Formula One racing cars

8.The roof of the Millennium Dome

A flexible yet durable Teflon-coated fiberglass material was developed in the 1970s for use on astronauts’ spacesuits. Teflon-coated fiberglass is now used for the roofs of many buildings worldwide, including the Dome in London.


It may seem strange, but the green movement owes a debt of gratitude to the rockets that blasted off into space. Efficient solar-power technologies – in which silicon crystals grown in a laboratory convert light into electrical energy – were first developed by Nasa in the early 1980s. The same technology is now widely used by companies manufacturing solar panels.

10.Personal storm warning system

11.The most impressive soundbite of all time

Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon on 21 July 1969 was one of the most historically important moments of the 20th century. His proclamation, which was heard by radio audiences around the world – “that’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” – remains one of the most famous statements ever uttered.

12.Better sunglasses

Nasa invented a special coating using a form of diamond-like carbon to protect its astronauts’ helmets from being scratched by space particles. A modified form of this substance – which decreases surface friction and therefore reduces scratching – has since been used by many sunglasses manufacturers, including Ray-Ban, since 1988.

13.First detailed map of another planet

In 1971, the Mariner 9 probe arrived at Mars and beamed a total of 7,329 images of the planet back to Earth. It provided the first global map of the surface of the Red Planet, including detailed views of its system of canyons and volcanoes, Valles Marineris.

14.The potential to preserve priceless art

After being first tested by Nasa, “polyamides” – incredibly strong and heat-resistant polymers – have been researched by the J Paul Getty Trust, which has discovered that one in particular may protect bronze statues from corrosion.

15.Car crash technology

“Explosive” bolts that can be remotely detonated to destroy them were used to free the Space Shuttle from its rocket boosters on blast-off. The technology has been adapted to create quicker and more powerful equipment to cut people out of car crashes. The cutters employ the same pyrotechnic “power cartridges” used on the Shuttle.

16.Longer golf shots

Wilson – one of the world’s biggest golf ball manufacturers – has improved the performance of its golf balls by implementing technology used to test the aerodynamics of the Space Shuttle’s external fuel tanks. These balls have a variety of specially configured dimples, which the company claims makes them travel further than conventional balls.

17.Plane wing-tips

Ever seen the vertical tip at the end of an airplane wing and wondered what it is? It’s a called a winglet and was originally developed at Nasa’s Langley Research Center. The winglet produces a degree of forward thrust (to help the plane in take-off and flight), operating much like a boat sail, and reduces wingtip drag. The winglet has been in service since the 1970s, and is found on all types of aircraft.

18.Freeze-dried meals

Nasa developed freeze-drying technology for the food carried by the Apollo missions. After the process, the product retains 98 per cent of its nutritional value and weighs just 20 per cent of its original weight. Snacks based on this technology are exported by Nasa to many countries, with sales running to several million pounds a year.

19.Baby food

Through Nasa research on algae (which it was hoped could generate oxygen in space through photosynthesis), it was found that certain algae contain two essential fatty acids present in human breast milk. These acids play an key role in infants’ mental and visual development. A synthetic ingredient that contains these acids is now added to baby food in 66 countries.

20.Warmer feet

Battery-powered thermal boots used by skiers are adapted from designs developed to keep astronauts warm during the Apollo space programme. Rechargeable batteries are worn inside the wrist of a glove, or the sole of a ski boot, and heat is generated by a small electrical circuit.

21.Increased understanding of the beginning of life

In 1995 the Hubble Space Telescope beamed images of the “Pillars of Creation” – columnar clouds of gas found in the distant Eagle Nebula – back to Earth. As well as being some of the most impressive images of space, these pictures changed scientists’ understanding of the beginnings of life in the universe.

22.’Anti-gravity’ treadmill

British marathon runner Paula Radcliffe has a stress fracture to her left leg, but aims to compete in the Beijing Olympics. She hopes to achieve this by training on a special “anti-gravity” treadmill developed by Nasa to help astronauts exercise in space. The machine operates in a high-pressure chamber which, in effect, cuts the weight of the user.

23.Hang gliders

In 1957, Nasa began testing various forms of wing for its Gemini space capsules. The wings’ simplicity of design, ease of construction, along with their capability of slow flight and gentle landing characteristics, was picked up by hang-gliding enthusiasts. The hang glider the enthusiasts designed became the most successful in history and formed the basis for the more streamlined hang gliders used today.

24.Straighter teeth

Nitinol, an alloy used by orthodontists to wire teeth braces, was tested in satellites that needed to spring open after being folded into a rocket. Nitinol is durable and springs back into shape after bending.

25.Heat-absorbing sportswear

Athletes can perform more strenuous activity without becoming overheated, thanks to new sportswear inspired by the cooling systems used in astronauts’ spacesuits. The clothes have packets of heat-absorbing gel positioned near parts of the body where the most heat is emitted.

26.Heart surgery

Bypass surgery is not the only means for doctors to deal with a blockage in the coronary artery. Nowadays, precise lasers can be used to clean arteries with extraordinary accuracy, while not damaging the walls of blood vessels. The lasers were originally developed by Nasa to monitor gases in the atmosphere of the Earth.

27.Life support for patients

Project Mercury, the first US human spaceflight program, which ran from 1959 to 1963, developed sophisticated monitoring systems to track the physiological status of its astronauts. The same technology is used today in intensive care units and specialist heart units.

28.Medicinal light- emitting diodes

The light-emitting diode (LED) technology used in plant growth experiments on board the Space Shuttle has led to the development of hand-held LED units used for the temporary relief of muscle and joint pain, as well easing the symptoms of arthritis, stiffness, and muscle spasms. It is that hoped use of LED technology will spread to aid bone-marrow transplant patients in the near future.

29.Artificial limbs

Robotic technology has been used to create more dynamic artificial limbs. New foam technology – used as a shock absorber by Nasa – has brought about more natural-looking prostheses and has helped reduce wear and tear.

30.Intelligent underwear

A new bra developed as a space spinoff aids the detection of breast cancer by employing water flowing through tubes to cool the skin surface. When used in conjunction with thermography – a heat-detecting technique used to detect tumours – this adapted clothing, improves image resolution and makes it easier to pick up any cancers.

31.Detection of forest fires

Nasa fire-detection wizardry developed in the early 1990s is now used by the authorities in the USA to detect forest fires that might not be spotted soon enough on the ground, and pinpoint their location. Infrared technology identifies the extent of a fire so firefighters can be sent to the right places to tackle it.

32.Plant research

Nasa research into possible bases on the Moon and Mars is looking into the use of plants to provide food, oxygen and water, reducing the need for outside supplies. The research is based on hydroponics, in which plants grow in a liquid instead of in soil. It could be used in food production on Earth.

33.Chromosome analysis

Using Nasa image-processing technology, human chromosomes are being photographed via cameras mounted on microscopes. The images can then be digitized, allowing doctors to enhance the pictures. The technique can be used to detect infant abnormalities.

34.Less rubbish

Derived from technology on the Space Shuttle, a waste compactor that needs no electrical power has been developed for boats and recreational vehicles. The device has hand-operated ratchets that drive a pressure plate with a compressive force of 2,000 pounds – a more than ample amount to crush cans, for instance.

35.Better skiing

Nasa developed the know-how to keep spacecraft windows clear of condensation before launch by applying two thin coatings of a special detergent oil mix to them. This has since been applied to stop ski goggles, deep sea diving masks, spectacles and vehicle windows from steaming up.

36.Better brakes

Studies of high-temperature space materials allowed the development of more resilient and cheaper materials for brake linings. These substances are now found in truck brakes, cranes and passenger cars and make for better and more reliable braking at high speed.

37.Improved air quality

A US firm has created an air-quality monitoring system based on a Nasa scheme. The monitor can analyze the gases emerging from chimneys and determine the amount of individual gases present, helping to ensure that buildings meet emission standards.

38.Life-saving heart technology

One benefit of Nasa’s work in telemetry – wireless control of devices – has been the creation of a heart pacemaker that can be controlled remotely. With no invasive procedures, a physician communicates with the pacemaker via a wireless device held over the patient’s chest.

39.A possible end to water shortages

Research into using bacteria as a means to remove impurities and purify water is being still being undertaken by Nasa. The system makes use of scant resources by turning waste water from respiration, sweat and urine into drinkable liquid and it’s hoped that this could help poorer communities in developing countries.

40.More competitive swimming

Some of the swimsuits favored by professional swimmers utilize technology found in spacesuits. The rubber is covered with barely visible grooves that reduce friction and aerodynamic drag by modifying the flow of water over an athlete’s body. These suits are 10 to 15 per cent faster than conventional swimsuits and could give an athlete the winning edge.

41.The self-righting life raft

Developed for the Apollo program, the raft fully inflates in 12 seconds and is stable during extremely adverse weather conditions. The craft are now used by coastguards around the world.

42.Home blood pressure kits

When Alan Shepard became the first American to fly in space some 37 years ago, Nasa scientists had to invent an automatic measuring device to find out how blasting off affected the astronaut’s blood pressure. Blood-pressure kits based on this design subsequently went mainstream.

43.Hydraulic rescue cutters

A rescue tool used by fire departments across America uses battery technology first employed by Nasa. The cutting technology – used to free accident victims from wreckage – employs a miniature version of the power cartridges first used on the Space Shuttle and is 50 per cent lighter (and 70 per cent cheaper) than previous rescue equipment. The cutters work more quickly than conventional ones and were used in the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma Federal Building bombing.

44.Satellite television

On 10 July 1962, a television transmission showed the American flag fluttering outside a communications center in Andover, Maine. It was made possible after Nasa launched its Telstar satellite, the world’s first active communications satellite, at 4.35 that morning.

45.Voice-controlled wheelchairs

Voice-controlled wheelchairs make use of Nasa robot voice recognition technology and are fitted with microcomputers that can respond to oral commands. The chairs help people with severe disabilities to perform daily tasks such as turning on appliances.

46.Mine-clearing technology

A type of surplus rocket fuel favored by Nasa has been used to create a device that can destroy land mines safely. The gadget uses the fuel to burn a hole in the mine’s casing and to burn away the explosive contents, making it easier to clear land of mines.

47.Long-life tires

The technology used to make parachutes to land exploratory probes was adapted by tire companies to create tires five times stronger than steel. Such technology, pioneered for use in tires by Goodyear in the late 1970s, employs long-chain molecular structures to increase tread lives by 10,000 miles, meaning that we can all drive further for less.

48.Eye screening

Nasa image-processing techniques are used to detect eye problems (errors in refraction, or the bending of light on to the retina) in children. An electronic flash from a 35mm camera sends light into the child’s eyes, and an image of the patient’s optical reflexes is then produced.

49.The personal alarm system

The pen-sized ultrasonic transmitters used by prison guards, teachers and the elderly and disabled to signal for help is based on technology derived from space telemetry. The pen transmits a silent signal to a receiver that will display the exact location of the emergency, enabling help to be sent.

50.The first photos of Saturn’s rings

In 1977, the probe Voyager 1 took almost 16,000 images of Saturn, its moons and its rings. The resulting photographs detected the presence of “spokes” within the planet’s ring patterns, which led scientists to reconsider theories about their formation.

[Source: The Independent]

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