Popular Science


1 SpaceX Dragon / 2011

This unmanned capsule and flagship of private spaceflight is a glutton for firsts. Dragon was the first commercial craft to be recovered after reaching orbit, the first nongovernment vessel to ferry cargo to the International Space Station, and, this year, the first to make a repeat delivery to that orbiting lab.

2 Delco Moraine ABS-VI / 1990

“Antilock-braking systems existed before ABS-VI debuted but always as expensive options on luxury and sports cars. This system, which cost half as much as its predecessors, democratized one of the most important automotive-safety techniques ever devised. Not only does it do its primary job (allowing drivers to retain control in a skid) brilliantly, but the adaptations of its core brake-pulsing capability have spawned most modern traction and stability controls. Now ABS is as elemental to car-safety technology as crumple zones, backup cameras, and airbags. It’s every driver’s first line of defense.”


3 Apple App Store / 2008

For a year, the iPhone went without one of its strongest features. Then Apple opened up

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