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NASA’s Johnson Space Center Selects Fuentek To Identify Licensees For High Altitude Hydration System

(February 10, 2010)

APEX, N.C. – Laura A. Schoppe, president of Fuentek, LLC, has announced that NASA’s Johnson Space Center has selected Fuentek to find prospective licensees for the intellectual property rights to the High Altitude Hydration System, a technology that improves on existing hydration systems. Unlike traditional systems, NASA’s High Altitude Hydration System prevents fluids from freezing in the tubing, container, and mouthpiece in harsh conditions. Fuentek will help Johnson seek manufacturers of outdoor equipment who are looking to either enhance their hydration system product lines or break into the hydration system market and are interested in commercializing the High Altitude Hydration System technology.

The High Altitude Hydration System was originally conceived and designed by astronaut-mountaineer Dr. Scott Parazynski who recognized the great risk of dehydration in high mountains and the lack of sufficient technology to meet this need. This technology is designed to work under minus 40°C conditions and 15-mile-per-hour winds over a 12-hour summit day, and it will provide 2-3 liters of liquid beverage (water, tea, or nutritional supplement) over the course of a day. Although designed for climbers, it has applications for cold weather sports enthusiasts (skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, hunters), rescue crews and military personnel.

“Dehydration is a serious risk among high altitude climbers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts,” said Karen Hiser, a Fuentek technology transfer consultant. “Whether using a hands-free hydration system or traditional, insulated water bottle, virtually every climber and cold-weather athlete has had their water freeze when they needed it most. This new technology provides an alternative to traditional hydration systems and will help prevent the life-threatening complications that accompany dehydration.”

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- The straw is insulated with aerogel or other highly efficient insulators, a feature that allows the heating system to work without extra thickness or weight.

- The High Altitude Hydration System works three different ways. The first, passive thermal control, uses aerogel insulation on the outside of the conformal fluid reservoir and around the drink straw. The bottle is mounted to an inner layer of clothing and the insulated straw is pulled from underneath the suit for a sip, then tucked back into the clothing. The second uses a braided copper wire attached to the drink straw and insulating aerogels to allow body-generated heat to keep the drink straw and conformal fluid reservoir from freezing. The third method uses a microcontroller and tape heater to keep the drink tube warm and free of ice crystals.

- Visit (link opens new browser window) for additional details about the technology.

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