Spaceflight technology helped reduce large truck aerodynamic drag, and due to the huge accomplishment, it will be inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame. Developed by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, an aerodynamic fairing concept originally developed for spaceflight was modified to help reduce drag on large truck cabs, which helps to improve fuel economy and handling. The design was worked on by a team of engineers led by aerospace engineer Edwin J. Saltzman.
| Image courtesy of NASA.
The aerodynamic truck cab design calls for rounded edges, the placement of a smooth fairing on the roof, and extensions of the sides of the truck back to the trailer. The more aerodynamic design helps to cut drag by more than 50%, which results in increased highway fuel efficiency in upwards of 20%. An annual driving rate of 100,000 miles, not unreasonable for many large trucks, would save more than 6000 gallons of fuel annually compared to former truck cab designs.
The technology will be inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame on April 2 at the 25th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The aerodynamics technology was selected by a panel of judges representing the National Security Space Office, NASA, the state of Colorado, and former Space Technology Hall of Fame inductees.