Talk:NASA spin-off technologies

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Translate into Chinese Wiki[edit]

Hi, I just want to know how can I translate this article into Chinese Wiki? They don't have this article in Chinese.

Thank you! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maxjiang000 (talkcontribs) 17:26, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

More detail about cleanup[edit]

AM (talk) 14:59, 14 July 2008 (UTC) Could someone please provide more detail as to what needs to be "cleaned up"? I'd be happy to do it, but not sure what's being referred to. There are links to sources for each of the spinoffs mentioned, back to the original Spinoff article. I can provide additional links to other NASA documents about those technologies, but I'm not sure if that's what you are looking for. Specific suggestions instead of just "citations needed" would be helpful.

AM (talk) 15:38, 11 July 2008 (UTC) If you aren't involved with Spinoff or NASA in some way, it would be great if you could discuss concerns here before making lots of changes. Thanks, everyone.

The clean-up tag was added by me and mainly because of the use of external links. As a rule, external links should be added into separate "External links" section at the end of the article. Linking article text with external websites is not usually acceptable. For more information, please see WP:External links.
Concerning citations, all articles require inline citations for direct quotes and for material that is likely to be challenged. Right no the article doesn't have correct inline references. Please see WP:Citing sources for more information. To create inline references, you could use special templates like Template:Citation or Template:Cite web.
Third issue is related to the sources. The article lays mainly on the information from the NASA website. There is nothing wrong with using it, but articles need also third-party published sources. For this policy, please see WP:V.
In general, I think this is a good article. Keep going. Beagel (talk) 16:34, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

AM (talk) 19:24, 14 July 2008 (UTC) Ok, thanks... but why were the computer tech titles removed? It's more confusing without the titles, in my opinion, as those were actually three separate software products, not one general section about computer tech spinoffs.

Ok, do restore then.Beagel (talk) 19:31, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

I provided the external links at the end of each technology to link to more details on the NASA spinoff page. I'll see what I can do in terms of reworking the links, but it seems more clear the way it is (rather than having superscript footnotes.) Still... I'll keep tweaking it.


It is not clear to me what the primary topic of the article is supposed to be: Spinoff, the journal? or NASA spinoffs? Should the article be split? Wednesday Next (talk) 20:53, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

That's a valid question. This particular page is really geared around both. It's hard to separate the two, because everything mentioned here is pretty much taken from the journal(s.) The Spinoff people and the Innovative Partnerships Program handle both the journal and issues related to spinoff technologies and products, so (in my opinion), they're pretty much inseperable. However, what I think might be a good idea is to create a page for the Innovative Partnerships Program (at NASA). That way, there can be a Spinoff page (which focuses just on the technologies, primarily, and the journal), and the IPP program, which is more wide-reaching (and addresses different programs that bring inventors and NASA together.) --AM (talk) 14:14, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Given the vague nature of the title for any onlooker, I'm assuming that this is more of a generalist article (although another could certainly by made specifically for SpinOff magazine, if that's desired, to avoid the same confusion, which I also had for a moment). I've added a few extra inventions using a 3rd party source, that seems to satisfy Beagel's editing request above for such, and waiting to see if a senior editor hacks up the additions before attempting to move this article beyond "Start" status. Qwidjib0 (talk) 19:05, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

In regard to the Goodyear concern below -- the list of spinoffs on the Wikipedia page are just abstracts. To get the details of the partnership between the companies and NASA and what made the product a spinoff, it's easy enough to click on the link and read the entire story. This Wikipedia article wasn't supposed to detail every single spinoff. It's just about what a NASA spinoff is, and gives 25 brief examples. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:41, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Topic, POV, and Notability concerns[edit]

In regard to the Goodyear concern below -- the list of spinoffs on the Wikipedia page are just abstracts. To get the details of the partnership between the companies and NASA and what made the product a spinoff, it's easy enough to click on the link and read the entire story. This Wikipedia article wasn't supposed to detail every single spinoff. It's just about what a NASA spinoff is, and gives 25 brief examples. If you want to know exactly how something qualifies to be a spinoff, the NASA spinoff pages probably are a good resource. There's a list of criteria somewhere. You don't just get to call your product a NASA spinoff because you feel like it... you have to have a clear NASA connection (including being a part of a NASA SBIR award or other technology transfer program, or have NASA engineers work on the design.)

Tang is not a NASA spinoff. Never was. It was just made popular by the fact John Glenn drank it at some point.

-signed Garza, 2/12/09

I have three issues with this article. First, I echo the above concerns about the topic of this article. The article appears to be about the journal, Spinoff. This should be made clear. Second, just because the journal claims something is a "spinoff", doesn't mean the technology actually is a spinoff. To imply otherwise in the absence of supporting evidence in a wikipedia article seems to violate NPOV. Keep in mind the criteria for inclusion as a spinoff as defined by the journal is very slight, the research just has to pick some NASA funding at some point in its development. There's no consideration of the amount of support, the state of development of the product (did these products ever get past the prototype stage?), or whether the product would be developed anyway in the absence of NASA funding. Once tainted by NASA funding, should everything that uses this development be termed a NASA spinoff? This is the kind of sloppiness you'd expect in a blog post not a wikipedia article.

Third, what makes these claims notable? Do they appear in other sources? Remember Spinoff is a NASA journal. Is there a more unbiased source for claims of being a spinoff? What makes them more noteworthy than spinoffs from other government agencies. For example, the US Department of Defense is probably by far the largest source of spinoffs in the US government. But it doesn't appear to me that there's wikipedia interest in discussing US DoD spinoffs.

Let's look at an example.

Improved Radial Tires
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company developed a fibrous material, five times stronger than steel, for NASA to use in parachute shrouds to soft-land the Vikings on the Martian surface. The fiber’s chain-like molecular structure gave it incredible strength in proportion to its weight. Recognizing the increased strength and durability of the material, Goodyear expanded the technology and went on to produce a new radial tire with a tread life expected to be 10,000 miles greater than conventional radials.

Ok, what's wrong here? First, NASA didn't actually help develope improved radial tires. They put an unknown quantity of money into Goodyear's R&D for a material that Goodyear then decided to use for other purposes. As I said before, I think the idea that one invention funded by NASA can "taint" other inventions to be absurd. Taken to the extreme, with enough time, every invention and discovery would have some NASA funding buried somewhere in its distant past and hence would be labeled a NASA spinoff. Second, since the discovery isn't put in context, we have no idea whether this material ever found its way into sold product. There's no indication how important this was. Finally, what make the improved radial tire worthy of inclusion in this article, but not other spinoffs from the 1976 journal?

How would I recommend improving this article? First, I don't see this article useful as is. Currently, we have a spotty list with unknown inclusion criteria and referenced only by a biased NASA source. Instead, I think we should start from scratch with a respectful definition of "NASA spinoff" and then discuss several general uses of the label. My take is that the key reason NASA spinoffs are discussed is in defense of a NASA project. There's got to be some high profile defenses of NASA using NASA spinoffs as the main argument.

Also, many marketers have used a remote connection to NASA as advertising for their product. Probably the best known example is Tang, a drink product. This is also the source of the term, "Tang effect" which originally was a derogatory label for the argument that NASA spinoffs are extremely valuable. Moving on, there are some common items that are routinely erroneously considered spinoffs, for example, computers, rockets, solar cells. But even so NASA is notable as an early adopter of these technologies.

It might be worthwhile to discuss seperately the spinoffs from NASA's aerospace research from the spinoffs for its space research. I gather the aerospace research tends to focus on a known aerospace need (for example, firefighting equipment and aircraft anti-icing systems) while space research tends to be more exploratory (funding development of artificial muscle systems, plant growth experiments in zero gee). Finally, this article really needs less biased sources. I don't mind NASA spinoffs as secondary reference material to help elaborate on the spinoffs themselves. But it should not, as is the case now, be the sole reference for the wikipedia article. -- KarlHallowell (talk) 03:06, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

The quality of this article hasn't changed since I last looked. Honestly, I really don't know what to do about it. But some of it just doesn't belong at all.
Land Mine Removal
Thiokol Propulsion uses surplus rocket fuel from NASA to produce a flare, the Demining Device, that can safely destroy land mines and help NASA reduce propellant waste. The Demining Device flare uses a battery-triggered electric match to ignite and neutralize land mines; it uses solid rocket fuel to burn a hole in the mine's case and burn away the explosive contents so the mine can be disarmed without hazard.
Thiokol is recycling rocket propellant that would otherwise be scrapped by NASA. NASA's input is merely agreeing to let Thiokol have the propellant. The flare would be produced anyway and is probably a DoD spinoff via the US Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program. This is why I am deleting this spinoff. -- KarlHallowell (talk) 17:05, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Questionable Medical References[edit]

The LED section under Health seems to be New Age stuff that fails in so many ways to be article-worthy. However, there are a bunch of references backing it up, although they are mostly only found at the company's website. NASA does consider the company a "spin-off" company for LED work on functions UNRELATED to what the Warp 10 device does (i.e. they were contracted to build a light to illuminate--and ONLY to illuminate--a surgery in progress). Something in the LED section has to drastically change. FFLaguna (talk) 07:50, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

I cannot find any articles in the medical literature referring to the Warp 10 being clinically tested. Maybe it works, maybe not, but one cannot claim that it is a therapeutic device without clinical testing. Danwoodard (talk) 01:07, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

I cannot find any evidence to support the assertion in the intro that Robert Heinlein's carotid surgery used NASA technology. The reference is inaccessible and only an essay.Danwoodard (talk) 17:15, 17 March 2014 (UTC). I am not sure this paragraph should be retained int he article, certainly not in the introduction.

notability and sources[edit]

I'm having problems finding any reliable third party sources that demonstrate notability for anything in this article. A few more sources would go a long way to fixing many of the POV and OR problems with this article. I will continue to work on this but if anyone is interrested in working on this article, we need reliable third-party sources talking about technologies or inventions that NASA or the space program helped to create. Voiceofreason01 (talk) 15:22, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

In recent years, it seems like a lot of these lists have popped up. I'm attempting to add in of the most noteworthy (and yet missing) inventions a few of the more credible ones. It looks as if the actual NASA SpinOff magazine, quoted a number of times here, would be about as reliable as it gets though (and could be used to verify any additions that we feel need extra citations). From the sounds of it, SpinOff is comprehensive enough to make that pretty realistic. Qwidjib0 (talk) 18:54, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

Year of introduction[edit]

Please write which year each technology was introduced because it is interesting to see how old the technology is and also important to avoid misunderstandings about an old technology being new. Soerfm (talk) 23:50, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Chemical detection?[edit]

I cannot find a single mention about the 'Chemical detection' topic in the cited source document. Not of the process, not of the company involved. I don't know if the information is true, but the citation appears to not back any of the claims. Gabbahead (talk) 11:18, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Dead links[edit]

It appears that all of the Spinoff links may be dead links, rendering most of the references section useless unless overhauled. A quick check suggests those have been moved here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:45, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Benefits and Financial return from Spin Off technologies[edit]

There is not too much documenting it, as it can be hard to quantify, but this report shows profit earned, jobs created, lives saved etc and this lists the different reports which have estimated the returns. Something like:

While it can be difficult to get reliable data on the exact income earned from spin-off technologies, several studies have shown a economic return of between 7:1 to 9:1, as well as a discounted rate of return on NASA investments ranging between 19-35%


Jaybest (talk) 23:32, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

Copypasted from NASA's website[edit]

Almost the entirety of this article is copypasted from NASA's website,, hence me adding the copypaste tag. Any input on what action to take would be appreciated.

See copyvio and dupdet for proof

alex3yoyo (talk) 22:29, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

While it is wrong to copy/paste copyrighted content, US Government works are in the public domain, see copyright status of work by the U. S. government. Because someone did not paraphrase that webpage may make it a poor Wikipedia article, but it is not a copyright violation. --Frmorrison (talk) 16:04, 29 May 2015 (UTC)


Hi, I'd love to see translations of this into other languages/Wikis (such as German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Arabic), as the justification and importance of space research remains a constant hassle. Spinoffs are a very weighty argument here. Cheers, Horst-schlaemma (talk) 11:36, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^