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Low-power formaldehyde detector for space applications

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2004 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street Suite E-11 Santa Fe, NM 87505-3993
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2004
Title: Low-power formaldehyde detector for space applications
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNJ04JC11C
Award Amount: $70,000.00


Trace contamination of the International Space Station (ISS) by formaldehyde?a known carcinogen? is a significant potential threat to crew health. The spacecraft maximum allowable concentration (SMAC) in air is only 40 parts per billion and ambient concentrations appear to be increasing as formaldehyde outgasses from a variety of plastic components. Monitoring formaldehyde levels is difficult because few analytical methods can achieve sufficient sensitivity from instrumentation that can be adapted for space-based operation. The current detection method ? using absorbent ?badges? ? relies on post-flight analysis of the adsorbent material. Some of those measurements show formaldehyde concentrations close to the SMAC upper bound. As a result, a need exists for a reliable, fully automated analyzer that can provide continuous monitoring of formaldehyde concentrations on board the ISS. The target detection sensitivity is 10 ppb and the response time should be =10 minutes. Southwest Sciences proposes the development of an optical analyzer for formaldehyde that is expected to meet the requirements of space-based operation. The instrument will be compact, light weight, require little electrical power and no consumables, and will be able to operate for extended periods (months to years) without maintenance or re-calibration.

Principal Investigator:

Daniel Kane
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Alan C. Stanton
Small Business Information at Submission:

Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco St Suite E-11 Santa Fe, NM 87505

EIN/Tax ID: 850340320
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No