In an interesting move, that could benefit a number of private space companies, NASA has released dozens of its patented technologies into the public domain.
The technologies, that were primarily developed for NASA's space missions, could help the space sector at large, which is seeing increasing growth in the private sector, not only from high profile companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, but from a whole host of SMEs involved in the supply chain.
However, as with cochlear implants, memory foam and freeze-dried food (to name a few NASA-originating technologies), some of the technologies may have terrestrial applications.
Among the trove of newly-public inventions is a method for manufacturing carbon nanotubes, which is apparently 20 times cheaper than current techniques, a super-efficient rocket engine, and a tougher type of aerogel, a futuristic material which Nasa uses to capture samples of comet dust. Another notable invention now open for manufacture by everyone is a 'smart' nozzle for turbine engines, which could drastically improve the performance and efficiency of aircraft.