Nasa Spin-Off Technologies

Topics: LZR Racer, High-technology swimwear fabric, Swimsuits Pages: 3 (943 words) Published: January 16, 2013
NASA spin-off technologies have had great impact on many people around the world, whether it be artificial limbs, cochlear implants, solar energy, GPS or water purifiers. But one particular invention has directly affected me and more than 25,000 other people in the United States. NASA has also helped SpeedoUSA develop the LZR Racer, the world’s fastest swimsuit in 2007 and 2008. In fact, during the Beijing Olympics, every gold medal was a swimmer wearing a LZR Racer. (Gerbis, 2009) The suit helped athletes break seventeen world records. I have been a competitive swimmer for four years, and there isn’t one competitive swimmer who hasn’t heard about, seen or used a LZR Racer racing suit. Most wouldn’t think a space shuttle and a competitive swimmer have a lot in common, but both have to compensate for the forces of pressure and viscous drag, the force of friction that causes a moving object to slow when moving through a substance, like air or water. SpeedoUSA in Los Angeles asked NASA to assist in creating a reduced-drag suit shortly after the 2004 Olympics. Manufacturers noted NASA’s elite understanding in areas of fluid dynamics and fighting drag. On the topic, Stuart Isaac, senior vice president of Team Sales and Sports Marketing said, “People would look at us and say ‘this isn’t rocket science’ and we began to think, ‘well, actually, maybe it is.’” (Turner, 2008) And so rocket science is exactly what SpeedoUSA decided to try. In 2004, SpeedoUSA’s Aqualab conducted tests using a small, re-purposed wind tunnel in NASA’s Langley Research Center. They discovered that the viscous drag on a swimmer is twenty five percent of the slowing force. (Turner, 2008) Being a swimmer, I know that every one-hundredth of a second counts towards my final time, and any reduction of such is crucial. Knowing this, Speedo had a fabric in mind at the start of the process. The manufacturer says the fabric, which Speedo calls LZR Pulse, is not only effectual at reducing drag, but it also...
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