After Hours

NASA tech breakthroughs that led to innovations


NASA has long been one of two major government science and technology incubators (the other is DARPA). One of the best things about the space agency is also one of the least known outside the scientific community: NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program has allowed the organization to share many technologies with the private sector, spurring other technological breakthroughs and helping to commercialize these innovations. The NASA Spinoff site will give you an idea of the scope of this program, which has existed since 1976. This gallery features some of the modern inventions for which the space agency is ultimately responsible.

Many semiconductor and integrated circuit manufacturers were able to experiment on the public dime. The fact that parts for the Apollo program had to be precise, error free, and durable made for extremely high-quality manufacturing and taught the industry many lessons.

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