To begin to understand how to assess the spinoff potential of the Strategic Defense Initiative, this paper examines other research and development (R&D) programs, investigating both new products and new processes. Programs examined include Apollo and other National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) programs, government demonstration projects, CERN, the Manhattan Project, and military R&D. The research results indicate that (1) industries that are closely involved in both government and commercial efforts seem more likely to transfer scientific research; (2) NASA has encouraged commercial spinoffs, but other benefits include management techniques and quality control procedures; (3) an important spinoff is the training of scientists and engineers; and (4) demonstration projects may lead to spinoffs even if the primary system is not adopted.
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