From the July 2002 issue of Entrepreneur

It's the stuff of entrepreneurial fantasy--NASA scientists take your company under their wing, teach you to make a better product at a lower cost, even help you find customers. It's easier than it sounds. The Space Act of 1958 not only created NASA but also required that the new agency give businesses knowledge of its activities and access to spinoff technologies.

ADMA Products Inc. in Twinsburg, Ohio, is one of many companies to benefit from NASA's research. A manufacturer of powder metallurgy products, the company was interested in a composite material NASA developed as a lubricant for use in high-temperature applications where traditional lubricants fail.

The company created a commercialization plan through the Great Lakes Industrial Technology Center, one of six regional centers that NASA operates. ADMA now licenses the technology from NASA to produce metallurgical powder, as well as parts for mechanical devices such as turbochargers, and is working with the agency to develop further applications for the technology. "NASA has saved us a great deal in R&D," says Scott Boyd, ADMA's vice president of sales and marketing. "We couldn't have done it alone."

NASA is willing to work with you, but be forewarned: Its technology often comes in a raw state, requiring a significant investment of time, money, human capital and skill before it's truly usable. For more information about working with NASA, call (800) 472-6785 to be automatically routed to the appropriate Regional Technology Transfer Center, or visit http://nasatechnology.nasa.gov and click on the "Commercial Tech" tab.

To learn about other federal agencies that work with businesses to commercialize technology, go to the Technology Transfer Information Center at www.nal.usda.gov/ttic/techseek.htm#govt. Click on the link to "Federal Technology Transfer Offices."

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