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Athletes Score Tech Transfer Knowledge at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

On July 24, NBA athletes with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland to learn about NASA’s technology transfer and commercialization opportunities.

“This meeting provided a glimpse at the NASA Technology Transfer Program and how athletes can become entrepreneurs in the tech industry,” said Dennis Small, a senior technology manager with Goddard’s Strategic Partnerships Office. “We introduced the athletes to NASA technologies and how to license those technologies as the basis for a new business.”

“It was incredible to get an inside look at NASA and the different types of technology they have to offer from a licensing standpoint,” said Mason Plumlee, program participant and current NBA player. “I am grateful to the NBPA and NASA for putting together this unique experience for us and excited to continue to learn about the different opportunities within the technology space.”

Through a Space Act Agreement with the NBPA, NASA worked with the organization to share information with athletes who are interested in exploring the technology sector.

“We were thrilled to be able to partner with NASA to provide our players with this type of hands-on experience and access to their exclusive technology,” said Deborah Murman, Director of Career Development at the NBPA. “We look forward to building on this partnership and hopefully the expansion of this program over the next few years.”

In the morning, athletes met with Goddard’s team of technology transfer professionals, who connect technology developers and innovators at Goddard to entrepreneurs and companies in the private sector. Through the process of technology transfer, NASA ensures that innovations developed for exploration and discovery are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the country.

Athletes heard from Goddard astrophysicists Keith Gendreau and Zaven Arzoumanian, inventors of NASA’s 2019 Government Invention of the Year, the Miniaturized High-Speed Modulated X-ray Source (MXS). Initially developed to look at black holes, the technology is being tested as part of a computed tomography (CT) scanner with partners at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Femi Ayanbadejo speaks to attendees of the meeting and members of Goddard's Strategic Partnerships Office.

Femi Ayanbadejo speaks to attendees of the meeting and members of Goddard’s Strategic Partnerships Office. Photo credit: NASA Goddard/Taylor Mickal

During lunch, athletes connected with Obafemi Ayanbadejo, a former NFL player and current licensee of NASA technology. Ayanbadejo shared how he founded his mobile app company, HealthReel. As a former professional athlete, he also talked about his experience successfully transitioning to a career in technology.

To wrap up, attendees learned more about how technologies are patented, and they received an overview of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program. Lastly, athletes were given a list of NASA technologies to research and consider for licensing.

“Both NASA and entrepreneurs stand to benefit from these connections,” Small said. “We’re excited to see what the future holds.”

A group pictures of the participants of the meeting.

Participants of the meeting gathered in the NASA Goddard Visitor Center at the end of the day. Photo credit: NASA Goddard/Taylor Mickal

Small but Mighty: Goddard SmallSat technology transferred to a small business in Utah

Thermal Management Technologies' Gecko Release Mechanism is based on a Goddard technology for small satellites.
Thermal Management Technologies’ Gecko Release Mechanism is based on a Goddard technology for small satellites.

After two years, a small but mighty piece of NASA SmallSat technology has transferred successfully to industry, thanks to a connection made at the 2017 Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah.

Thermal Management Technologies (TMT), a company based in North Logan, Utah, licensed the Diminutive Assembly for Nanosatellite deploYables (DANY) in 2018, and this year, TMT completed its first sale.

“Our business is very focused on the small satellite industry, which is one of the reasons we liked this particular release mechanism that we licensed,” says Scott Schick, director of engineering at TMT. “This device fits in well with the other thermal control and structural technologies that we sell.”

DANY – created by Goddard inventors Luis Santos, Scott Hesh, and John Hudeck – provides a reliable mechanism to secure deployable elements of a small satellite, safely stowing them until receiving a signal to burn through a plastic restraining link and release them for use in space. Deployable elements on a small satellite can include solar arrays, sun shades, radiators, or antennas. The entire assembly is about the size of a credit card, making it ideal for small satellites that have significant space restraints.

TMT used DANY as the core of its “Gecko Release Mechanism,” named after the device’s gecko-like size and ability to grip tightly onto a spacecraft.

Over the past year, Schick and his team have worked to modify NASA’s original design to enable the production of multiple units. After several months of adjustments, TMT now has a marketable product ready for sale. 

Schick says that when it comes to working with NASA technologies, “it’s important to do your homework and make sure you understand what it takes to turn the technology into a product. With this device, we’re better positioning ourselves to support engineers and missions that fit into the small satellite market.”

Technology managers with the Goddard Technology Transfer Office are always available to answer questions or help move projects forward. For more information, please email techtransfer@gsfc.nasa.gov or call 301-286-5810.

Inaugural NASA Commercialization Training Camp Introduces Athletes to Tech Transfer

Members of Goddard's Strategic Partnerships Office, the NFL Players Association, and NBA Retired Players Association gathered for a picture during the three day commercialization workshop.
Members of Goddard’s Strategic Partnerships Office, the National Football League Players Association, and the National Basketball Retired Players Association gathered for a picture during the three day commercialization workshop.

On June 24-26, professional athletes explored the world of space technology at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The NASA Commercialization Training Camp invited current and former athletes with the NBA and NFL to spend three days at Goddard and learn about opportunities to license and commercialize NASA technology.

[Read more…]

NASA’s Sun Measurement Technology Helps Keep People Safe Outside

The UVA+B SunFriend. Image Credit: Sensor Sensor LLC

The UVA+B SunFriend. Image Credit: Sensor Sensor LLC

Each month the Strategic Partnerships Office will tell the story of a renowned innovator at NASA’s Goddard
Space Flight Center and show how their technological breakthroughs are brought from the labs to our lives.
This month features UV Light Detection, a technology that gives NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
more accurate measurements of the Sun’s radiation and is used to measure individual’s daily sun intake.

Click here to learn more.

Open Source Software Streamlines Process for Testing SmallSats

The Jon McBride Software Testing and Research Team gathers in front of STF-1.

The Jon McBride Software Testing and Research Team gathers in front of STF-1.

The very first spacecraft built in West Virginia reached completion last year, thanks to a collaboration between NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility, West Virginia University (WVU) and the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium (WVSGC). The history-making CubeSat is called STF-1, short for Simulation to Flight 1, and it launched into space at the end of 2018. [Read more…]

NASA’s Gear Bearing are Helping Bahari Energy Harness Energy from Urban Wind

Gear bearing technology is a mechanical engineering innovation combines gears and bearings into one unit.

Gear bearing technology is a mechanical engineering innovation combines gears and bearings into
one unit.

Each month the Strategic Partnerships Office will tell the story of a renowned innovator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and show how their technological breakthroughs are brought from the labs to our lives.This month features gear bearings, developed by John Vranish to increase resolution for telescopes, and the licensing of this technology to Bahari Energy.

Click here to learn more.

Custom Laser Crystal Supports More Efficient Artificial Guide Star

Part of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, this laser guide star helps astronomers correct blurry images caused by atmospheric turbulence. Photo credit: G. Hüdepohl/ESO

Part of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, this laser guide star helps astronomers correct blurry images caused by atmospheric turbulence. Photo credit: G. Hüdepohl/ESO

Telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope have a huge advantage over ground-based telescopes — they don’t have to deal with Earth’s atmosphere. The atmosphere’s constant state of flux causes trouble for telescopes on the ground, due to its tendency to distort light traveling through it. One solution to this problem involves a technique called adaptive optics. With it, astronomers can correct blurry images and produce better pictures. [Read more…]

2D Image Analysis Software Shows Potential in Many Industries

HHT2 technology allows for image “noise” to be removed for a clearer picture. Credit: NASA

HHT2 technology allows for image “noise” to be removed for a clearer picture. Credit: NASA

Each month the Strategic Partnerships Office will tell the story of a renowned innovator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and how their technological breakthroughs are brought from the labs to our lives. This month features the Hilbert Huang Transform 2 (HHT2), a two dimensional adaptation to the original Hilbert Huang Transform. This 2D analysis software clarifies distorted images and enables enhanced interpreting of images.

Click here to learn more.

Goddard Scientists are Preparing the U.S. Power Grid to Withstand Space Weather

X class solar flare measured in different wavelengths. Credit: NASA GSFC SDO Flickr

X class solar flare measured in different wavelengths. Credit: NASA GSFC SDO Flickr

Each month the Strategic Partnerships Office will tell the story of a renowned innovator at NASA’s Goddard
Space Flight Center and show how their technological breakthroughs are brought from the labs to our lives.
NASA is turning the U.S. power grid into a large instrument designed to measure space weather using
geophysical imaging and, after a successful test program, is partnering with more power companies to
increase coverage.

Click here to learn more.

Nonlinear Analysis Tool Finds Uses in Medical Industry

NASA’s Hilbert-Huang Transform. Credit: NASA GSFC

Image converted using ifftoany

Each month the Strategic Partnerships Office will tell the story of a renowned innovator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and how their technological breakthroughs are brought from the labs to our lives. This month features the Hilbert-Huang Transform/Real-Time Data Processing System, from innovator Dr. Norden Huang. This nonlinear and nonstationary signal analyzer is being licensed to DynaDx for numerous applications in the medical industry.

Click here to learn more.