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Updated 2:00 PM EDT, Wed, May 20, 2020

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Bonanza for U.S. firms: NASA Makes Some of its Patented Tech Freely Available

Commercial benefit of NASA tech

(Photo : NASA) A system developed by NASA for manufacturing rocket fuel on Mars is helping make beer bublier.

NASA has made freely available for unrestricted commercial use 56 of its formerly patented technologies. It has also created a searchable database that catalogs thousands of expired NASA patents already in the public domain.

This scientific bonanza is expected to benefit private U.S. firms, especially those into science and technology. Some of the key NASA technologies now in the public domain are methods for controlling airflow around vehicles in hypersonic flight and inventions related to rocket nozzles, injection systems and propellants that might help launch a new generation of commercial spacecraft.

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There are also technologies about advanced manufacturing processes, sensors, propulsion methods, aircraft wing designs, improved rocket safety and performance concepts.

They were developed to advance NASA missions but also have non-aerospace applications.  NASA said these technologies can be used free of charge by commercial space ventures and other companies. This eliminates the time, expense and paperwork required when licensing intellectual property.

"By making these technologies available in the public domain, we are helping foster a new era of entrepreneurship that will again place America at the forefront of high-tech manufacturing and economic competitiveness," said Daniel Lockney, NASA's Technology Transfer program executive.

"By releasing this collection into the public domain, we are encouraging entrepreneurs to explore new ways to commercialize NASA technologies."

The database of NASA-developed technologies now in the public domain is located at http://technology.nasa.gov/publicdomain.

NASA's patent portfolio is managed by it Technology Transfer Program. It includes over 1,000 technologies in categories such as manufacturing, optics and sensors. The technologies in this program are available for industry use through licensing agreements.

This latest patent release supports NASA's long tradition of extending the benefits of its research and development into the public sector. In doing this, NASA hopes its technologies can boost the U.S. economy and the quality of life for more Americans.

The release might help familiarize commercial space companies with NASA capabilities and result in new collaborations with private industry.

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