7 Tech Spin-Offs From The Apollo Program

Here are 7 ways we still reap the rewards of the Apollo Program.

Credit: NASA

The Apollo Program (1963 — 1972) was NASA’s third human spaceflight program.

During the Apollo Program NASA scientists and engineers pushed the boundaries of knowledge to which the effects of can still be seen today.

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If you want to learn more about the historic Apollo Program I highly recommend the book The Apollo Program: The History and Legacy of America’s Most Famous Space Missions.

Next time someone questions the value of a national space program, share these 7 Technology spin-offs enabled by of the Apollo Program.

Credit: The National Football League

#7 — Houston’s Reliant Stadium retractable roof.

According to NASA- “One of its kind, made possible by NASA technology. NASA’s spacesuit fabric has fostered many new innovations, including a permanent structure fabric developed for the Apollo Program and produced by New York-based Birdair, Inc. Pound for pound, the material is stronger than steel and weighs less than five ounces per square foot. Its translucency value, which ranges from four to 18 percent, reduces lighting needs and helps maintain the natural grass playing field. Its reflectivity lowers cooling costs, and the Teflon coating reduces maintenance costs by increasing the fabric’s resistance to moisture, temperature extremes and deterioration. These factors combine to lower initial costs and speed construction.” — read more here.

Credit: pakhydraulic.com

#6 — Chlorine-free pools

According to NASA — “Silver ion technology has been used to create an automatic pool purifier. Caribbean Clear Inc. system offers an alternative to chemicals, such as chlorine and bromine. Purifiers use silver ions, as used in Apollo Purification Systems, to kill bacteria, copper ions and algae. They produce spa or pool water that exceeds EPA Standards for drinking water” — read more here.

Credit: Inhabitat.com

#5— Solar Panels

According to NASA— “Innovations developed with technology from NASA’s Apollo lunar module program has created a renewable energy resource used on Earth and in space.

Solar panels collect electricity by absorbing light when it strikes the surface and transfers it to a semiconductor. These solar panels are used on calculators, street lights, houses and on the International” — read more here.

Credit: Pharmaceutical Journal

#4 — Easier treatments for dialysis

According to NASA — Technology originally developed under NASA contract by Marquardt Corporation, a chemical process was developed to remove toxic waste from used dialysis fluid. This discovery led to the development of a kidney dialysis machine using “sorbent” dialysis, a method of removing urea from human blood by treating a dialysate solution. The process saves electricity and gives the patient greater freedom of movement during treatment.” — read more here.

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#3— Programmable Pacemaker

According to NASA — “St. Jude Medical’s Cardiac Rhythm Management Division used Apollo technology to develop a programmable pacemaker system. A physician can communicate with a patient’s pacemaker by means of wireless telemetry signals transmitted through the communicating head held over the patient’s chest. Where earlier pacemakers delivered a fixed type of stimulus once implanted, this system enables “fine tuning” of the device to best suit the patient’s changing needs.” — read more here.

#2 — Battery-powered precision tools

According to NASA — “Utilizing NASA’s cordless innovations, Black & Decker created cordless, lightweight battery-powered precision instruments designed to give surgeons optimum freedom and versatility in the operating room.

It also led to today’s electric screwdrivers, drills and other portable and chargeable devices. Cordless power tools are also used to help build the International Space Station on orbit.” — read more here.

Credit: Superhero Fabrics

#1 — Durette®, non-burn material

According to NASA — “Fire hazards are much greater in atmospheres containing a high percentage of oxygen under pressure. After the 1967 Apollo fire, NASA needed to find new ways to protect astronauts and their vessels. The Monsanto Company developed a chemically treated fabric called Durette that does not burn. A National Bureau of Standards/NASA project resulted in a lightweight breathing system including facemask, frame, harness and air bottle marketed by Scott Aviation. Aluminum composite material was used to reduce the weight of the overall apparatus, and the frame and harness were designed to be much easier to put on and take off. Today nearly every major manufacturer of breathing apparatus incorporates NASA technology in some form, helping to reduce the incidence of inhalation-related injuries.” — read more here.

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“NASA is an engine of innovation and inspiration as well as the world’s premier space exploration agency, and we are well served by politicians working to keep it that way, instead of turning it into a mere jobs program, or worse, cutting its budget.” — Bill Nye