Spinoff Highlights NASA Technology Paying Dividends in the US Economy


NASA’s technology is at the forefront of space exploration, but it can also be applied here on Earth – from improving cellular networks to saving lives in the pandemic.


Whether upgrading air traffic control software or honing the food safety practices that keep our dinner tables safe, NASA has worked for more than six decades to ensure its innovations benefit people on Earth. One of the agency’s most important benefits is the way investment in NASA pays dividends throughout the U.S. economy.

The latest edition of NASA’s Spinoff publication highlights dozens of companies that have benefited from cooperation with NASA – including several projects from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. This cooperation means investment in existing companies large and small; it eases the path for entrepreneurs to start new businesses; and it benefits the public as a whole through new jobs and cutting-edge products that improve daily life.

“Whether working to send the first woman and next man to the Moon or helping improve the technology that carries passengers from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, NASA innovators are constantly creating new technology,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Often these advances have wide-ranging benefits well beyond the need they were first imagined to meet. Telling the public that story is one way we fulfill our mission to find homes for the technology beyond the agency for maximum benefit.”

This year in Spinoff, you’ll learn more about innovations from NASA centers across the agency, including:

  • How JPL has developed a new kind of technology used in spectrometers that can also be used to improve 5G cellular networks (page 7).
  • How an array of new technologies aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover will help explore Mars but also enrich life on our own planet. For instance, a new kind of laser technology aboard the rover can be used on Earth to detect contaminants in pharmaceutical manufacturing, while a new kind of specialized drill bit is already assisting geologists in the field (page 24).
  • How JPL roboticists have imitated the gecko’s gravity-defying grip to create a manufacturing robot that can grapple smooth objects with ease (page 51).

“Every spinoff story represents a product for sale, developed with NASA technology and expertise,” said Daniel Lockney, Technology Transfer program executive. “The American public benefits not just from the products themselves but also from the infusion of innovations and investment that spur economic development in the form of new ideas, new companies, and new jobs.”

In addition to these commercial success stories, this issue of Spinoff also delves into NASA’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In particular, it highlights how the agency’s Technology Transfer program worked to ensure new or improved innovations – including new ventilators and sterilizers – made it into the hands of businesses and the public for the biggest impact (page 66). Among the success stories is the Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally, or VITAL-new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA engineers at JPL and tailored to treat coronavirus patients.

Spinoff 2021 also features 20 NASA technologies that the Technology Transfer program has identified as promising future spinoffs, as well as information on how to license them or partner with NASA to further develop them for commercialization.

As NASA technology continues to blaze a path to the future, the methods of informing the public about their wide-ranging benefits also received an innovative makeover. NASA’s 2021 Spinoff publication features a modern, fresh design, making it easier than ever to learn how NASA technology and investments in the space program pay dividends for the U.S. economy and the public.

The new Spinoff storytelling approach centers on big-picture trends, such as the far-reaching impact of NASA’s efforts to keep water flowing on the International Space Station, as well as a curated selection of spinoff “capsules” that offer quick hits of cutting-edge technology making life better around the world.

Readers also can find these stories year-round on the reimagined NASA Spinoff website, updated frequently with new stories. The site allows readers to delve deeper into NASA’s economic impact in different parts of the United States through a searchable map that highlights spinoff successes created in each state.

“Transferring NASA technology beyond the space agency is part of our culture and one of our longest-standing missions,” said Reuter. “We’ve updated the look of the Spinoff publication, but the message is the same: We’re always working to ensure our innovations find the widest benefit, from space to you.”

Digital versions of the latest issue of Spinoff are available at:

https://spinoff.nasa.gov

For more information about NASA’s Technology Transfer program, visit:

https://technology.nasa.gov

News Media Contact

Clare Skelly
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-4273
clare.a.skelly@nasa.gov

Ian J. O’Neill
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-2649
ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov

2020-234

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    In U.S GAO News
    The Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act of 2018 (OPEN Government Data Act) codifies and expands open data policy and generally requires agencies to publish information as open data by default, as well as develop and maintain comprehensive data inventories. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not issued statutorily-required guidance for agencies to implement comprehensive data inventories, which could limit agencies' progress in implementing their requirements under the act. OMB also has not met requirements to publicly report on agencies' performance and compliance with the act. Access to this information could inform Congress and the public about agencies' open data progress and statutory compliance. Implementation Status of Selected OPEN Government Data Act Requirements   Assessment Federal data catalogue: By July 2019, the General Services Administration (GSA) must maintain a point of entry dedicated to sharing agency data assets with the public, known as the “Federal data catalogue”. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and GSA must ensure agencies can publish data assets or links on the website. ✓ Online repository: By July 2019, OMB, GSA, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) must collaborate to develop and maintain an online repository of tools, best practices, and schema standards to facilitate the adoption of open data practices across the federal government. ✓ Implementation guidance: By July 2019, OMB must issue guidance for agencies to implement comprehensive inventories. ✖ Biennial report: By January 2020, and biennially thereafter, OMB must electronically publish a report on agency performance and compliance with this act. ✖ Legend: ✓Requirement fully met I ✖ Requirement not met Source: GAO analysis of Pub. L. No. 115-435, 132 Stat. 5529(Jan. 14, 2019), resources.data.gov, www.data.gov , and an interview with OMB staff. | GAO-21-29. GAO found that all 24 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act agencies display their data inventories on their websites, as well as on an online catalogue of federal data assets. Agencies took a variety of approaches to providing public access to individual data assets such as using Data.gov as the human-readable public interface, hosting searchable inventories on their own agency websites and providing lists of data or downloadable files on their websites. Information on the extent to which agencies regularly update their data inventories is limited. OMB and GSA do not have a policy to ensure the routine identification and correction of errors in electronically published information. The absence of such a policy limits publicly available information on agency progress. As of September 2020, seven of the 24 CFO Act agencies had also publicly released COVID-19 related datasets or linked to related information from their open data web pages as required by the Federal Data Strategy. These datasets provide data on a range of COVID-19 related topics including data on disease transmission and loans provided to businesses. Federal agencies create and collect large amounts of data in support of fulfilling their missions. Public access to open data—data that are free to use, modify, and share—holds great promise for promoting government transparency and engendering public trust. Access to open data is particularly important in the current pandemic environment as government agencies, scientists, and the public work to understand and respond to COVID-19 using data-focused approaches. The OPEN Government Data Act includes a provision for GAO to report on federal agencies' comprehensive data inventories. This report examines the extent to which 1) OMB, GSA, and NARA met their statutory requirements to facilitate the establishment of federal agencies' comprehensive data inventories; and 2) CFO Act agencies developed data inventories in accordance with OMB guidance. GAO reviewed agencies' websites and related documentation, and interviewed OMB staff and GSA and NARA officials. GAO is making two recommendations to OMB to issue required implementation guidance and report on agency performance. GAO also recommends that OMB and GSA establish policy to ensure the routine identification and correction of errors in agency data. GSA concurred with GAO's recommendation and OMB did not comment on the report. For more information, contact Michelle Sager at (202) 512-6806 or SagerM@gao.gov.
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  • Indonesian Company Admits To Deceiving U.S. Banks In Order To Trade With North Korea, Agrees To Pay A Fine Of More Than $1.5 Million
    In Crime News
    A global supplier of cigarette paper products, PT Bukit Muria Jaya (“BMJ”), has agreed to pay a fine of $1,561,570 and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department for conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with the shipment of products to North Korean customers. BMJ, which is incorporated in Indonesia, has also entered into a settlement agreement with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).
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  • Assistant Secretary Schenker Travel to Jordan, Algeria, and Morocco
    In Crime Control and Security News
    David Schenker, [Read More…]