MicroSAFE (Stress Analysis and Forecasted Endurance)
The NASA SLI is to determine design approaches to a new space launch vehicle that can reduce the costs and minimize risks. Significant amounts of the cost associated with operation of the current Shuttle involves manual inspections. The challenge is to determine a means of more cost effective inspections. Proposed herein is a means for reducing the need for manual inspections while improving the quality of ?flight readiness status? information. The proposed approach also insures that this reduction in operations costs could be achieved for a minimum cost. A miniature device is proposed that can measure and compile the exact stress life in mechanical parts on a constant basis and report this information to a gathering facility via wireless radio communications. The device would be so small that one or more of them could be included on every critical life limited part designed for a particular application. The inclusion of the device on the critical part would make the part a ?smart part? that would continually measure its own health relative to stress life and would report that information when commanded. Thus maintenance personnel would only need to watch for data processing alarms to determine the replacement time.
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