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Trace Contaminant Monitor for Air in Spacecraft

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Mesa Photonics, LLC
1550 Pacheco St Santa Fe, NM 87505-3914
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: Yes
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Trace Contaminant Monitor for Air in Spacecraft
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX10CE28P
Award Amount: $99,999.00


A need exists for analyzers that can measure trace contaminants in air on board spacecraft. Toxic gas buildup can endanger the crew particularly during long missions. Some gases are generated by people and emitted through the skin or by exhalation. In addition to carbon dioxide, these anthropogenic gases include carbon monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, acetaldehyde, and methanol. Plastics used in the spacecraft cabin can outgas formaldehyde, and heat exchangers can leak ammonia into breathing air. Overheating electronics can release carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride. Thus, continuous air monitoring is required. Mesa Photonics proposes development of a highly miniaturized, highly efficient Fourier Transform (FT) spectrometer for continuous monitoring of contaminant air. The spectrometer will be able to detect a wide range of compounds with response times of about 30 seconds. Our approach combines several innovations that will lead to a rugged and reliable spectrometer capable of space-based operation and having a long shelf life. Spectrometers will be about the size of a lap-top computer, weigh about 4 kg, and consume about 10 W. Most target contaminants will be detectable at part-per-million or lower concentrations.

Principal Investigator:

David S. Bomse
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Daniel J. Kane
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

Mesa Photonics, LLC
1550 Pacheco St. Santa Fe, NM 87505

EIN/Tax ID: 431999584
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No