Uncoordinated Technology Transfer at NASA

By Keith Cowing
April 18, 2012
Filed under
Uncoordinated Technology Transfer at NASA

The other day these three Technology Transfer Opportunities were posted on NASA’s procurement page by NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) media specialist Sean Sullivan. Hmmm “media specialist”. Doesn’t sound technical to me. More like NASA Public Affairs.

NASA Technology Transfer Opportunity: Use of Beam Deflection to Control Electron Beam Wire Deposition
NASA Technology Transfer Opportunity: NASA Langley Advanced Actuators and Transducers
NASA Technology Transfer Opportunity: Crimping Tool for Safe and Efficient Critical Wiring Needs

If you look back at this list of things released by NASA LaRC you will see that three of these Technology Transfer Opportunity notices are released every week. Not two, not four, but three. This is rather odd. Is this the rate at which these things are actually generated, or is LaRC sitting on a pile of these things that they are slowly releasing so as to make themselves look a little more productive? You never find these things posted anywhere other than NASA’s procurement site. Why not post this information as soon as it is know? Why string people along with the release exactly (only) three per week?

The NASA LaRC Technology Gateway makes no mention of these notices. NASA Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) doesn’t mention them. NASA TechBriefs makes no mention either. And there is nothing on the NASA SpinOff page. Curiously there are a lot of things mentioned at the NASA LaRC Technology Gateway that are never featured as these Technology Transfer Opportunities are. And NASA OCT and NASA TechBriefs seem to have zero interaction. There you have it. Multi-focal dysfunctionality at work within the parts of NASA that are supposed to be looking at the cutting edge.

It would seem that there is no coordination process at NASA whereby technology transfer, spinoffs, or new commercial applications are collected together and promulgated with the interest of reaching the widest possible audience(s). From what I have been able to gather, no one at NASA is especially interested in making any of this more user friendly either.

Dysfunctional Technology Efforts at Langley, earier post
More Stealth NASA Spinoffs, earlier post

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.