Space Products & Innovation
Transportation, Logistics, and Manufacturing
Safety is also an important concern on offshore oil platforms. Engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Astro Technology have collaborated to address some of these dangers, including both worker safety and dangerous leaks into the surrounding environment.
Plastic computer screen covers are a common alternative to delicate glass in rugged industrial settings, but their tendency to transfer electrostatic charges can create a serious risk of explosions in the dusty atmosphere of mines.
Noting that the complexity of tracking trains across an extensive national rail network is similar to that of monitoring and controlling a satellite in orbit, ESA contractor Elecnor Deimos envisaged a way to apply satellite tracking software to the Spanish rail system.
The global coverage provided by space assets gives them a distinct advantage in applications related to largescale transportation and logistics. The customs and border control process of verifying cargo can lengthen the time required for cross-border shipments and complicate logistics.
Space technology has also been adapted by Volkswagen to create safer cars. A very thin sensor strip originally developed by ESA to measure pressures on the wing of a space plane turned out to be well-suited for use in automotive crash testing.
Space technology has even enabled “seeing” through solid rock, a feat that is being used in tunnel drilling applications. By analyzing the way sound waves move through rock, underlying geological features can be revealed.
From 2011 to 2013, the ESA Business Incubation Center in Bavaria is hosting WASP-Logistik, which has been developing software that takes computer code originally developed for satellite navigation and applies it to timber management.
Beyond corporate and retail services, space products and services also facilitate global transportation, logistics, industrial manufacturing, and materials testing. While a single GPS device enables personal navigation, multiple network-linked GPS devices enable the management of complex logistics networks, such as time- and location-sensitive tracking of shipments.