NASA makes more than 800 innovations available to public

There are hundreds of programs in the agency's latest software catalog that the public can now download.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

The public will now have access to many of NASA's computational innovations thanks to a new effort to make some of them available for download

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement that there are more than 800 pieces of software created by the organization that have helped operations both on Earth and on missions to the Moon and Mars.  

NASA is sharing the programs through its Technology Transfer program which is run by the Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA noted that it was important for American taxpayers to benefit from technologies developed by and for NASA. 

"The good news is this technology is available to the public for free," Nelson said. "The software suited for satellites, astronauts, engineers, and scientists as it is applied and adapted across industries and businesses is a testament to the extensive value NASA brings to the United States -- and the world."

NASA provided a detailed outline of how people and companies can use their software, advising those interested to find NASA technologies for licensing at technology.nasa.gov and then submit a license application and commercialization plan online.

If the application is accepted, the person or company will work with a NASA licensing manager to set the terms of the license agreement before a final agreement is signed. 

NASA has long collaborated with public and private organizations on a variety of efforts like TetrUSS. Researchers at NASA worked on reducing aircraft emissions through computational fluid dynamics programs that minimize drag.

TetrUSS has now become one of the organization's most downloaded applications ever and is currently in use in the production of planes, trains, cars, boats and even buildings. 

NASA also cited its work with WorldWind, a data visualization tool that they said is currently helping the Coast Guard generate maps from live feeds of satellite and maritime data. The project has helped "decision-makers worldwide manage scarce resources" and "researchers understand climate impacts on freshwater resources."

Technology Transfer Program Executive Dan Lockney said many of NASA's programs will be integral in addressing the effects of climate change.

"By making our repository of software widely accessible, NASA helps entrepreneurs, business owners, academia, and other government agencies solve real problems," Lockney said. 

In addition to TetrUSS and WorldWind, NASA also has programs that can calculate a solar power system's size and power requirements using fuel cells, solar cells, and batteries as well as code that can analyze solar aircraft concepts. 

Other software for computational fluid dynamics may help "improve the efficiency of wind turbines for power generation."

The rest of NASA software catalog includes categories like system testing, aeronautics, data and image processing, autonomous systems, and more. The software is also continuously updated in a searchable repository. 

NASA will hold a virtual event on July 13 to explain the effort more and answer questions. 

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