NASA's Aerospace Industry Technology Program: Dual-Purpose Technology for the Future 941199
The Aerospace Industry Technology Program (AITP), newly created in fiscal year 1994, is a key element of NASA's program in response to evolving U.S. national technology policy. Since World War II, the Federal Government has played a major role in overall U.S. technology research and development (R&D). Assuring the timely transfer of the technologies developed for national purposes is vital. Through the Space Act of 1958, NASA has long been chartered to make special efforts to assure that the technology developed for the civilian space program is made available for dual-use in non-NASA - and often non-aerospace - applications. Numerous programs have been implemented during the past two decades to achieve the goals of NASA technology transfer.
With the AITP, NASA is beginning a more proactive effort to translate its mission-oriented R&D efforts into commercial benefits. The AITP will create industry-led, NASA-corporate partnerships to develop and apply advanced technology rapidly in industry applications, in the non-aerospace commercial marketplace, as well as providing new capabilities for NASA missions. Projects will focus on R&D in precompetitive technologies and novel applications, supporting high-risk and high-payoff opportunities.
Programs similar to the AITP have been funded in several agencies; including the Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce. These programs represent benchmarks for the definition of the AITP and will drive coordination efforts as the AITP moves from planning into implementation. In addition, active involvement of industry in all aspects of planning will be an AITP hallmark - broadening the base of participation while building lasting bridges between existing aerospace capabilities and non-aerospace sectors.