NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Developed a Ventilator Specially Designed for COVID-19 in Just 37 Days

May 4, 2020


When coronavirus first became headline news in March, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine challenged NASA researchers to look for ways to leverage their capabilities to assist in pandemic response. NASA researchers began redesigning and inventing equipment to help COVID-19 patients and now, a month after Administrator Bridenstine announced the charge, researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have announced they have created a new, simpler ventilator that’s quicker to build than conventional ventilators: the Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally (VITAL).

VITAL requires many less parts than traditional ventilators and was designed to be manufactured quickly. It has already proven successful in supporting a COVID-19 patient in a trail phase and the team at NASA has already submitted paperwork to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to obtain approval for the device in emergency use. Once approved, the California Institute of Technology, which runs the JPL for NASA, plans to extend royalty-free licenses available to any company interested in manufacturing the ventilator.

In addition to the research being done at JPL, NASA’s Glenn Research Center is working in partnership with a company called Emergency Products and Research to develop a decontamination system that can distribute fine droplets of a sterilizing liquid that allows for rapid decontamination of emergency vehicles.

NASA is also using a crowdsourcing platform called NASA@Work to compile ideas on more ways the agency can help in fighting the pandemic. To submit an idea, please visit:

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