I had the good fortune yesterday to attend NASA’s Technology Day on Capitol Hill. NASA sponsors this event each year to demonstrate how investments in space and aeronautics technology help enable agency goals and at the same time create or improve products and services that benefit life here on Earth.
This year’s event, “NASA Technology: Imagine. Innovate, Explore,” was in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC and featured seven technologies developed in collaboration with NASA, including systems used to assess patient health, monitor water quality, and evaluate disaster risk. NASA also showcased new advances in tele-robotics, communications, navigation, and manufacturing.
In addition to reporters and tech transfer professionals like me, in attendance were congressional leaders, their staffs, and top NASA officials including NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, and Chief Technologist Mason Peck.
Also there were NASA astronauts Mike Massimino and Mike Good, who were on hand to discuss their experiences in space and how technologies developed in partnership with industry help advance NASA missions. One of the day’s highlights for me was listening to Mike Massimino (who flew on two shuttle missions!) describe his experience in space. His raw enthusiasm was captivating as he described his impressions of Earth as he viewed it from space. It was a great reminder of what an important role NASA plays in inspiring the nation.
My role at the event was to help get the word out to congressional leaders and their staffs about the economic impact NASA has in their home states. Fuentek recently helped NASA produce flyers that convey NASA’s economic impacts in all 50 states. The flyers illustrate that when businesses leverage NASA technologies to develop new products, there are tremendous benefits to local economies throughout the country. We’ll be blogging (and tweeting) about these flyers in the future, but check out this NASA Web page for more detailed information.
I also got to chat briefly with Charlie Bolden, which was a fun treat. He was pleased that the flyers are available and can serve as a tool to communicate the important impact that NASA has across the country.
The spirit of NASA Technology Day has its roots in the 1958 Space Act that created NASA, mandating that the agency transfer as much of its technology as possible for the benefit of the public. This spirit was on display yesterday, as NASA showcased these companies and their products, all accomplished through partnership with NASA: EA Sports, Redwood, California; ASA Analytics, Waukesha, Wisconsin; NVision, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; L’Garde Inc., Tustin, California; Zephyr Technology, Annapolis, Maryland; and A&P Technology, and Lambda Technology, both of Cincinnati, Ohio.
In addition, six NASA centers exhibited the latest space technology that is advancing medicine, improving water quality, and designing safer and more efficient airplanes.
Were you at NASA’s Technology Day? Share your experience below or send us a private message via our Contact Us page.
Editor’s note: All photos by NASA.