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Distributed Leak Detection System Using Structure-Borne Noise

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2007 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Invocon, Inc.
19221 IH-45 South; Ste. 530 Conroe, TX -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2007
Title: Distributed Leak Detection System Using Structure-Borne Noise
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNJ07JB40C
Award Amount: $99,972.00


Manned spacecraft are vulnerable to air leaks caused by micrometeorite and space debris impact. The ability to detect and quickly locate and mitigate a pressure vessel breach is critical to the safety of any long duration spacecraft, such as the International Space Station or a proposed lunar base or mission to Mars. Current NASA protocol for finding a spacecraft leak uses a handheld ultrasonic directional microphone, similar to those widely deployed industrially, to detect the 40 kHz airborne ultrasonic hiss generated by the downstream leak turbulence. However, known limitations exist regarding the use of airborne ultrasonic emissions for locating leaks in the spacecraft environment because the downstream side of the leak occurs into the vacuum of space, creating reduced leak noise inside the pressure vessel. Blockages of the transmission of airborne ultrasonic energy by structural components, avionics, and equipment racks also limit the detection range of such systems. An alternative approach that we propose is to monitor the spacecraft structure itself---the pressure vessel skin---for leak-generated surface-borne ultrasound by means of a flexible and modular electronics package with fully integrated surface sensor arrays, data acquisition electronics, and radio frequency communication capabilities.

Principal Investigator:

Jonathan Sumners
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Mary D. Pate
Small Business Information at Submission:

Invocon, Inc.
19221 IH 45 South, Suite 530 Conroe, TX 77385

EIN/Tax ID: 760315372
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Iowa State University
1138 Pearson Hall
Ames, IA 50011 2207
Contact Phone: (515) 294-5225
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university