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The triumph of engineering

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kdboyce
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re: The triumph of engineering
kdboyce   7/9/2011 3:07:28 AM
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I often reminded my parents of the innovations and changes they have seen in their lifetime...one of which was the advent of the airplane and its impact and the space program and its ongoing impact. It is said that one of the most dramatic "jump cut shots" in the movie industry was the one used by Stanley Kubrick in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" which showed some pre-humans fighting with clubs followed by a three million year jump cut from weapon to spacecraft. One a smaller scale, but nonetheless significant, this generation, and our parents' generation, have experienced quite a 'jump cut shot'.

daleste
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daleste   7/10/2011 8:03:15 PM
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I'm sure there have been many inventions from the space program that are now used for products that we buy. Thing like the pen that writes upside down. Does anyone know of a compilation of these inventions?

george.leopold
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george.leopold   7/13/2011 12:12:37 AM
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The NASA site and publication below purports to have tracked every commercialized NASA technology since 1976, five years before the first shuttle launch. I tried searching on the term "velcro," since this is a common example of a NASA technology spinoff. But a search of NASA's data base came up empty. Perhaps you will have better luck. Here's the link: http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/

daleste
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daleste   7/13/2011 12:40:27 AM
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Thanks, George. I'll have fun searching thru it.

Sergeant82d
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Sergeant82d   7/15/2011 3:33:22 PM
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I haven't checked the site, but you might try "hook-pile tape" instead of the trademarked commercial "Velcro". The US Military uses the hpt phrase for that reason; it may stand to reason that NASA does the same.

Itinerant Engineer
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Itinerant Engineer   7/23/2011 3:58:00 AM
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Per wikipedia, the hook-and-loop fastener was not a NASA invention.

Robotics Developer
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re: The triumph of engineering
Robotics Developer   7/13/2011 2:00:53 PM
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I am both proud of what we have accomplished with the US space program and sad that we have given up on space flight as a nation. We have benefited in so many ways from the space program. I am not just talking about the technology and the spinoffs but more importantly the inspiration the program created. How many young men and women (boys and girls) were encouraged to pursue engineering careers as a result the the space program? How many current engineers working now once watched the moon landing or the shuttle launches when they were growing up and thought: "I want to do that when I grow up". The space program is (and was) more than just a vehicle (pun intended) for higher technology developments, it was a source of pride and incentive for generations of kids. Pride in America and in what our engineers and scientists could do. Incentive to reach for the stars in what ever they do, to pursue dreams and challenges. We are far richer for having the space program and its many benefits.

old account Frank Eory
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old account Frank Eory   7/13/2011 11:40:35 PM
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I religiously followed the Apollo missions as a kid, and all the NASA planetary exploration missions that came later. Our nation's space program definitely had a big influence on my career choice. The first project I worked on after getting my BSEE was for a NASA satellite, and I even met an old-timer who had worked on the transponders for the Apollo missions. Those were very exciting times to be a young engineer!

maniacal_engineer
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maniacal_engineer   7/16/2011 1:02:55 AM
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on a similar note, my first project was in the Skunk Works and I met a guy whose first project was doping wings on a project headed by one of the Wright Brothers

Robert.Czeranko
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Robert.Czeranko   7/13/2011 6:32:04 PM
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I presented a software conference about 15 years ago and met an Australian engineer that state no matter what happens in the future it was America that first put man on the moon. I am one of those wide eyed kids watching the moon shots and decided to be an engineer. While we have not given up space launches, we have given up on our manned space launch program. It is too bad, but I believe that we will have a manned program back in the near future.

Brian Fuller2
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Brian Fuller2   7/13/2011 10:31:44 PM
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There's something about space, the technology, the frontier... the future. On my drive across the country, I talked with a reader yesterday who got into engineering because of Star Wars (Lucas, not Reagan). Lot of engineers were inspired by Star Trek and probably before that Buck Rogers.

Duane Benson
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Duane Benson   7/15/2011 4:10:27 PM
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According to a USPTO search, the trademark for "Velcro" was registered in 1958 by VELCRO S. A. CORPORATION, Switzerland. I didn't find the original patent for Velcro, but I found some other patent filings in 1959 that referenced Velcro. I always thought it was a NASA space program spin-off. Regardless of whether Velcro was invented by NASA, so many other items have been. Probably too many to count.

Tunrayo
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re: The triumph of engineering
Tunrayo   7/15/2011 5:15:27 PM
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Thanks for sharing you thoughts Brian. I congratulate Willam Shockley and Claude Shannon, among others, for their work, and for laying the foundation for the innovations that have made our lives so much easier ... ... the possiblity of mere mortals to carry portable devices and communicate with the world ... among other numerous possibilities.

Rod Dalitz
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Rod Dalitz   7/15/2011 9:21:34 PM
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Apollo was an amazing adventure, I watched the first landing on a hastily, purchased B/W TV. Now, technology has surpassed Apollo to the extent that we have to recognise there is nothing humans can do in space which robots cannot do better. Even warfare is waged with drones, Predator and Reaper. It is sad, but magnificent to see the advances in scientific understanding. What we need now is the James Webb telescope, and DSCOVR to study earth climate.

Don Scansen
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Don Scansen   7/18/2011 12:40:41 AM
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Brian, Like the others here, this takes me back to watching the final Apollo missions. In those days, it seemed like anything was possible and much of that was thanks to engineers. It was a formative time for me and undoubtedly a major reason I ended up a EE. Watching mission control, I think I hoped to one day go to work wearing a short-sleeved white shirt with a black tie, finished off with a pocket protector. Don

ReneCardenas
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ReneCardenas   7/20/2011 7:32:44 PM
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Thank you Brian for a niece tech anthology, which also reminds me why I became an engineer rather than a doctor, my father's profession. I also remember as a child seen the moon landing on our BW TV set, and been inspired to imagine life beyond our solar system. I was lucky to work at NASA JSC as my first job on the computer mainframes used for the simulators.

Tom Maz
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Tom Maz   7/21/2011 8:30:48 PM
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While I understand the comment, please realize that anytime you place your tail on 3.7 million pounds of high explosive you have to accept that you can have a bad day. Risk is part of the business of experimental flight, indeed of any kind of exploration. We accept risk when we get in our cars, planes, trains and other means of transportation so you have to accept it here.

prabhakar_deosthali
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re: The triumph of engineering
prabhakar_deosthali   7/22/2011 6:34:32 AM
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Yes! The technology has advanced to a point where you don't need humans to fight the war. You have those drones and spider robots and what not. All our technology advances are being put to use to fight wars. And the villains whom the governments try to destroy using this advanced technology are also using the same technology to counter those attacks, to camouflage their hideouts, to arm themselves with the latest weaponary. Where is the common man in all this? He is suffering. There are yet no automated technology tools to find out who is hungry , undernourished , under distress. There are no technology tools to automatically reach these people and provide them the required help. Can the next generation of Drones do such kind of humanitarian tasks? Then and then I will say that the technology is really helping the mankind to survive . And not just for killing each other.

Paul.Pacini
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re: The triumph of engineering
Paul.Pacini   8/4/2011 8:03:53 PM
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Too bad NASA, as well as so many (all?) government programs, never learned how to run efficiently and had not blown through so many billions of dollars, with so little to show for it. If they ran more like private industry and were not so horribly inept with budgets, were the least bit efficient, and had some degree of accountability, there might still be a shuttle program.

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