NASA grants free access to its technologies in latest software release

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NASA has released its 2017-2018 software catalogue free of charge to the public, without any royalty or copyright fees. The catalogue is said to offer an extensive portfolio of software products for a wide variety of technical applications, available in both hard copy and online, with a number of software packages made available for the first time.

This third edition of the publication has contributions from all the agency’s centres on data processing/storage, business systems, operations, propulsion and aeronautics. It includes many of the tools NASA uses to explore space and broaden our understanding of the universe. Each catalogue entry is accompanied with a plain language description of what it does.

“The software catalogue is our way of supporting the innovation economy by granting access to tools used by today’s top aerospace professionals to entrepreneurs, small businesses, academia and industry,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington. “Access to these software codes has the potential to generate tangible benefits that create jobs, earn revenue and save lives.”

NASA published the first edition of its software catalogue in April 2014, becoming the first comprehensive listing of publicly available software to be compiled by a US federal government agency. Since then, NASA has shared thousands of its software programs with students, industry, individuals and other government agencies.

“Software has been a critical component of each of NASA’s mission successes and scientific discoveries. In fact, more than 30% of all reported NASA innovations are software,” said Dan Lockney, NASA’s Technology Transfer programme executive. “We’re pleased to transfer these tools to other sectors and excited at the prospect of seeing them implemented in new and creative ways.”

Some of the software available include codes for more advanced drones, and quieter aircraft. While access restrictions apply to some codes, NASA says it has automated and updated its software release process over the last two years to ensure that it is as quick, easy and straightforward as possible.

Categories covered by the catalogue