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Shoulder pads to launchpads: NASA to help NFL players start space tech start-ups

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NASA is teaming up with the NFL Gamers Affiliation (NFLPA) to assist professional soccer gamers construct companies the usage of applied sciences initially evolved for spaceflight, consistent with a federal Area Act Settlement signed in Would possibly however no longer prior to now reported.

Below the two-year pact, the distance company will cling a chain of “era switch” workshops with gamers this summer season. The athletes will excursion NASA amenities, communicate with rocket scientists and establish patents of specific passion. NASA may just then license the applied sciences to new player-owned start-ups, or interact in what it calls “collaborative partnerships” with them.

NASA is needed through legislation to switch applied sciences to the non-public sector for commercialization. Previous spin-off successes come with virtual digital camera sensors, GPS era, reminiscence foam, invisible braces or even enriched child meals. The company has a big program known as Era Switch devoted to searching for out new trade fashions and partnerships.

NASA experiences and shows declare greater than 1,800 spin-offs, with a mean annual earnings of $1 million and supporting greater than 14,400 jobs. The company estimates that its well being and protection applied sciences, from middle pumps to whole-plane parachutes, have stored greater than 440,000 lives.

Some of the NFLPA’s roles helps gamers transition to new careers after their retirement from soccer. In line with the settlement, “The NFLPA has discovered rising selection of its individuals have passion in attractive in era start-up companies as the root for his or her 2d occupation.”

After the NFLPA arranged a excursion of Silicon Valley tech corporations in 2016, New York Jets offensive take on Kelvin Beachum wrote: “Whilst I could be a 6-foot-Three, 300-pound offensive lineman, I’ve concepts on what I need to do out of doors of soccer. With the intention to pay attention anyone who is a part of a state of the art innovation … asking us for our enter was once an eye-opener.”

Final yr, Seattle Seahawks famous person quarterback Russell Wilson based TraceMe, a social media app designed to glue celebrities to their fanatics with movies and different content material. The NFLPA may be a part of One Staff Collective, a mission capital-backed trade accelerator for corporations in need of to leverage NFL gamers’ reputation and experience.

Neither NASA nor the NFLPA answered to requests for remark, even though the submitting famous, “The proposed settlement [is] an instance of the way NASA can paintings with a nontraditional group to understand advantages to each organizations, in addition to to the American public.”

Regardless that NASA has no longer but transferred any of its era to NFL start-ups, a number of soccer gamers have taken the other course.

Former NFL participant Leland Melvin was once drafted through the Detroit Lions in 1986 ahead of a hamstring damage pressured him to retire. In 1988, Melvin joined NASA’s Langley Analysis Heart as an engineer, and was once ultimately decided on as an astronaut, flying on two Area Commute missions to the Global Area Station. A former Kansas Town Chiefs cornerback, Darryl Gaines, works at NASA in a senior function on the Johnson Area Heart in Texas.

Image: Leland Melvin, Russell WIlson
Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, left, with astronaut Leland Melvin at The 2017 MAKERS Convention. Emma McIntyre / Getty Photographs for AOL record

The primary workshop below the settlement was once scheduled for closing month, however NASA didn’t reply to questions on whether or not it happened. Some other workshop was once to practice in February across the time of Tremendous Bowl LIII.

If the workshops do yield new start-ups, some gamers may just uncover occupation within the NFL pales compared to a 2d occupation this is in point of fact out of this international.

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