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Distributed Leak Detection System Using Structure-Borne Noise

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNJ07JB40C
Agency Tracking Number: 060498
Amount: $99,972.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T5.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2006
Award Year: 2007
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2007-01-19
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2008-01-22
Small Business Information
19221 IH 45 South - Suite 530
Conroe, TX 77385-8703
United States
DUNS: 782566418
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jonathan Sumners
 Principal Investigator
 (281) 292-9903
Business Contact
 Mary Pate
Title: Vice-President
Phone: (281) 292-9903
Research Institution
 Iowa State University
 Not Available
1138 Pearson Hall
Ames, IA 50011
United States

 (515) 294-5225
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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