NASA Johnson Space Center

Agency/Department

FLC Region

Security Lab

Yes

Address

Technology Transfer Office
Code AT
Houston, TX 77058
United States

Laboratory Representative

Description

NASA's Johnson Space Center has served as a hub of human spaceflight activity for more than half a century. As the nucleus of the nation's astronaut corps and home to International Space Station mission operations and a host of future space developments, the center plays a pivotal role in surpassing the physical boundaries of Earth and enhancing technological and scientific knowledge to benefit all of humankind.

Established in 1961 on nearly 1,700 acres southeast of downtown Houston as the Manned Spacecraft Center, the bustling core of space activity was renamed in 1973 to honor the late president and Texas native, Lyndon B. Johnson. From the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs to the International Space Station and Orion, Johnson's nearly 14,000 person workforce helps bolster NASA's standing as an institution where creative and talented problem solvers push the boundaries of explorations innovation.

Mission

Every one of the more than 500 NASA astronauts and space explorers from our international partners who has crossed the threshold of the International Space Station or flown on the space shuttle has trained at Johnson. In the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, astronauts, engineers and other mission support professionals learn skills and procedures to operate the orbiting laboratory on full-scale modules. In facilities around the 200-plus building center, a precision air-bearing floor, a partial gravity simulator and a virtual reality simulator, among other training facilities, prepare astronauts to live and work in microgravity. At Johnson's satellite facilities close to the center, they maintain their flying skills in T-38 jets and practice spacewalks at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab.

NASA missions that explore new frontiers and expand understanding of how humans live and work in space are planned and supported from the Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. Mission Control Center. A host of engineers, scientists and mathematicians help the men and women living in low Earth orbit utilize the space station to its fullest capabilities, test new technologies, and sustain the life of the orbiting laboratory through 2020. Some of the agency's experts in human spaceflight work with private companies to develop safe, reliable and affordable commercial vehicles to transport humans and cargo to low Earth orbit.

Tech Areas

No Available Technologies for this lab
Funding

The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research,or EPSCoR,establishes partnerships with government, higher education and industry that are designed to effect lasting improvements in a state's or region's research infrastructure, R&D capacity and hence, its national R&D competitiveness.

The EPSCoR program is directed at those jurisdictions that have not in the past participated equably in competitive aerospace and aerospace-related research activities. Twenty-four states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam currently participate.Fivefederal agencies conduct EPSCoR programs, including NASA.

NASA EPSCoR Jurisdictions and their Directors
View EPSCoR Directors by State/Jurisdiction

The goal of EPSCoR is to provide seed funding that will enable jurisdictions to develop an academic research enterprise directed toward long-term, self-sustaining, nationally-competitive capabilities in aerospace and aerospace-related research.

Agency
NASA
State: 
Texas
Lab Representatives
No Programs for this lab
Facilities
Displaying 1 - 10 of 12
11 ft. Chamber, Space Suit Dev. & Cert, EC, B-7
Chamber A, EC, B-32
Chamber B, EC, B-32
Dual Glove Thermal Vacuum Facility, EC, B-7
General Vibration Lab (GVL)
Insitu Resource Utilization Test Fac, EP, B-353
Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL)
Sonic Fatique Lab (SFL), B-49
Spacecraft Acoustic Lab (SAL), B-49
Spacecraft Acoustic Lab (SAL), B-49

Pages

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No publications for this lab
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Success Stories
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They’re in your cell phone camera and DSLR, but they were likely in your dentist’s X-ray machine first: CMOS digital image sensors.

NASA spent much of the 1980s developing imagers based on charge-coupled device (CCD) technology, which had enabled the first digital cameras. But in the early 1990s, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineer Eric Fossum set out to build a more efficient image sensor based on complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS), which are microelectronic transistors that had been integral to computers since the 1960s. It had been tried before, but Fossum and his team figured out how to correct for noise that plagued earlier versions.

To develop the sensors, JPL entered into several Technology Cooperation Agreements with companies, including dental device manufacturer Schick Technologies of Long Island City, New York, which wanted to use them for dental X-rays. Engineers from Schick and JPL worked together to advance the technology and adapt it to X-ray imaging.

In 1995, Fossum and colleagues founded Photobit with an exclusive license for CMOS imaging, and Schick obtained an exclusive license for CMOS dental imagers.

What came to be called the active pixel sensor was more energy-efficient than CCD imagers, which was important for imagers Schick wanted to power with batteries. Active pixel sensors also allowed for smaller devices, which translated to patient comfort in imagers that are placed in the mouth. They were also less susceptible to electrical noise.

As CMOS sensors came to dominate the entire digital imaging industry, Schick, now owned by Sirona Dental Systems, benefited from rapid improvements in size, speed, memory, and quality, as well as cheaper mass production.

Today any company using CMOS dental image sensors has licensed the technology from Sirona, which still holds the license from JPL’s managing entity, the California Institute of Technology.

While best known for groundbreaking innovations that expand our knowledge of the universe, technology created at NASA is also responsible for everyday items that better our daily lives.

Technology transfer (T2) allows industry professionals the chance to work with federal agencies such as NASA to bring innovations made in federal labs into commercial use. Licensed technologies, test facilities, and even the knowledge of NASA teams are opened to industry through the T2 process.

Houston-based medical technologies company Tyrell Inc. utilized NASA engineering professionals to help redesign a heating element found in an in-home acne-fighting device, according to NASA’S Spinoff publication. The idea came from company founder Robert Conrad, who while working at a biological testing firm experimented with growing bacteria colonies and then shocking them with heat to kill bacteria. Conrad began considering the same treatment for the bacteria that creates pimples.

Conrad created a working prototype that proved to be too large and too expensive to manufacture. With guidance from business accelerator Houston Technology Center, Conrad contacted NASA through the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program.

With NASA’s help, Conrad created a smaller device with an improved 5-volt heating element resistant to oils and acids. The outreach program then pointed Conrad to Allen Saad of Boeing, who helped reduce the cost of the unit and pave the way to commercialization, bringing the new Zeno portable acne treatment system to the market. Conrad said NASA’s help is what brought Zeno from a prototype to the market.

Zeno was named NASA’S Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program success story of the year in 2006.