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Free stuff from NASA! Robots, drones, satellites!

Well, not exactly, but the space agency is offering free software code that relates to all these things, so other agencies can tap its knowledge base.


Just because you don't work for NASA doesn't mean you can't use its code.

On Wednesday, the space agency released its latest online software catalog of over 1,000 code descriptions related to topics such as guidance systems, robotics, aeronautics, climate simulators, biological sensors and design tools.

The codes are free but have varying levels of access restrictions. Some are open to all US citizens. Others are restricted for use by other federal agencies. Some are available to people outside the US. Others are open source.

The open-source material can be downloaded directly, but many items require at least the creation of an account. Some codes have stiffer access requirements, such as a current government contract or the signing of a usage agreement.

"Software has been a critical component of each of NASA's mission successes and scientific discoveries," NASA Technology Transfer program executive Dan Lockney said in a statement. "In fact, more than 30 percent of all reported NASA innovations are software. We're pleased to transfer these tools to other sectors and excited at the prospect of seeing them implemented in new and creative ways."

NASA published the first edition of its software catalog in 2014. According to NASA, it was the "first comprehensive listing of publicly available software to be compiled by a federal government agency -- the largest creator of custom code."

This year's NASA software catalog provides codes for projects such as past shuttle missions and the Curiosity rover. The catalog features 15 broad categories, including system testing, propulsion, electronics and electrical power, environmental science, design and integration tools, crew and life support, and autonomous systems.