Hardware Component Prototyping for Operationally Responsive Space Access
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
The objective of the proposed Air Force SBIR program is to develop prototyping capability for the design integration of long length scale structural health monitoring (SHM) sensors with reusable launch vehicle (RLV) structures to enable quick analysis and turnaround. NanoSonic would work with Lockheed Martin to 1) design, fabricate and evaluate a spatially-integrating sensor that can operate from cryogenic to 450C, to detect damage caused by mechanically and thermally-induced changes in material and structural properties, and 2) analyze how such sensors can be designed as part of the RLV structure to reduce turnaround time. Changes in integrating sensor output are shown to be directly related to the reduction of the ability to support mechanical load. The sensing approach uses an integrating optical fiber sensor supported in an extended temperature polymer carrier applique that may be integrated with or adhesively applied to the structure. The results of Phase I program would be 1) an integrating sensor capable of determining loss of material stiffness and withstanding the extended temperature environment, 2) support optics and electronics, and 3) experimental demonstration at the sensor on a structural test article. A complete sensor system would be delivered to AFRL during Phase I for additional evaluation.
Small Business Information at Submission:
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