Rodeo Rides on NASA Research and Technology


June 23, 2006

From the horseshoes to the roof, NASA technology is pervasive throughout the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo as well as the agriculture and livestock industries around the globe. Below are just a few of the NASA spinoffs that have been developed to help protect cowboys and their critters.

Anti-bull vests
KEVLAR material protects riders from broken bones and punctured organs, just as it protects police officers from bullets and astronauts from the vacuum of outer space. Developed from NASA technology and produced by DuPont, this composite material was originally designed for the Space Shuttle orbiter and is lighter and stronger than some metals. It can be molded into aerodynamic shapes, eliminating the need for rivets and fasteners. --Spinoff 1985

Pony power pads
Aquila Equine Enhancement Products, Inc. wanted to protect horses hooves from the wear and tear of metal shoes and frequent riding. It developed a magnetic hoof protector pad that supports and cushions the hooves and legs, decreasing the chance of injury. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center tested these pads through the technology development assistance program. --Spinoff 2002
Rodeo rides

This NASA spinoff, a point-of-care testing machine for animals called VetScan Chemistry Analyzer, is small and inexpensive enough for use in mobile vet units.

Very effective vet visits
Using NASA technology taken from the Skylab II Space Station, Abaxis, Inc. converted a biochemical analyzer for astronauts into an instant, point-of-care testing machine for animals. Small and inexpensive enough for use in mobile vet units, the VetScan Chemistry Analyzer eliminates the need for follow-up visits and diagnoses pre-existing medical conditions prior to surgery, avoiding life-threatening complications. --Spinoff 2003

Stop equine saddle sores
Using the temperature management system worn underneath the Astronauts’ orange Launch and Entry Suits, EquiPedic, Inc. has turned this technology into high-tech saddle pads that can help prevent overheating. The EquiKOOL Temperature Management System lowers the body surface temperature by four to six degrees, reducing the chances of overheating during competition or long-distance riding.

EquiPedic, Inc. has also utilized the Tempur Foam pressure-relieving material in its saddle pads and saddles to protect horses from saddle sores. Tempur Foam was developed to relieve astronauts of the g-forces experienced during liftoff. Tempur Foam is an open-cell polyurethane silicone plastic foam that exhibits about 340 percent less shock from impact, takes shape of impressed objects and returns to its original shape. --Spinoff 1979 & Spinoff 1981

Reliant Stadium’s retractable roof
Reliant Stadium’s retractable roof is made possible by NASA technology. NASA’s Apollo Program spacesuit fabric has been developed into a permanent structure fabric that is stronger than steel and weighs less than five ounces per square foot. It is translucent, allowing sunlight to maintain the natural grass playing field. Its reflectivity lowers cooling costs and the Teflon coating reduces maintenance costs. On average, the use of the fabric covering reduces building costs by 30 percent and lasts up to 20 years. It is also used in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. --Spinoff 1978


For more information about EquiPedic and its products visit To contact EquiPedic, please call 575-523-0900 or email [email protected]

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