Nasa has launched a new initiative that will offer startups the opportunity to obtain licences to use any of its patented technologies. Startups can choose from Nasa's catalogue of over 1,200 technologies, without shelling out any upfront fees.

Formally known as Technology Transfer Program, the initiative is designed to address two common problems that startups often face - raising capital and securing intellectual property rights. The patented technologies range from materials and coatings to sensors, aeronautics technologies and instrumentation among others, according to the space agency.

"The Startup Nasa initiative leverages the results of our cutting-edge research and development so entrepreneurs can take that research -- and some risks -- to create new products and new services," said David Miller, Nasa's chief technologist.

Nasa has created an online database of its entire patent portfolio to help startups easily find what technologies they need to kick-start their businesses. The database consists of 15 different categories and is packed with patents maintained and protected by the US government. In addition, startups can also opt to seek the guidance of Nasa's technical personnel as well as use its facilities.

The initiative is open only to US-based startups "formed with the express intent of commercialising the licensed Nasa technology". Besides, while the agency will waive off the initial licensing fee for use of its technologies, it will, however, collect royalty fees once the startups begin selling their products.

Nasa is at present revealing facts about Pluto and Mars and developing technologies such as 3D printing that can be used in space.