The New England Research Application Center is helping companies all over the country bring space technology down to earth.

NERAC, based in Storrs, Conn., is one of six nonprofit industrial applications centers created in 1966 to make NASA's research and development available to U.S. businesses. NERAC's computer draws on more than 100 databases to learn about technological developments.

Last year, for example, Smart Products Co., a developer and manufacturer of acoustical materials in Framingham, Mass., was able to tap NERAC's computer to investigate the state of the art in the hearing-protection field. Thanks to a recent Small Business Administration program, many smaller companies can subscribe to NERAC's service for free.

For a list of NERAC locations and more information, contact NERAC, Mansfield Professional Park, Storrs, CT 06268; (203) 486-4533.