Mirage Fire Sensor for Spacecraft

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX08CB53P
Agency Tracking Number: 074563
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: X3.04
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11, Santa Fe, NM, 87505-3993
DUNS: 153579891
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 David Bomse
 Principal Investigator
 (505) 984-1322
Business Contact
 Alan Stanton
Title: President
Phone: (505) 984-1322
Email: astanton@swsciences.com
Research Institution
Spacecraft fires create exception risks to crew members. There is usually no place to escape. Even small amounts of hardware damage can compromise a mission. The most effective fire extinguishing agents, Halons, are prohibited because of the toxicity and corrosiveness of combustion byproducts. Early warning fire sensors are needed that can operate effectively in zero gravity; that means no convection to transport smoke or fire-generated gases to point sensors. Avionics compartments are often densely packed and filled with dead spaces that do not exchange air well with circulating air streams. Southwest Sciences proposes the development of a thermal mirage sensor for detecting incipient spacecraft fires. The sensor will use highly miniaturized, low power cameras to image a simple geometric pattern projected onto a flat surface. Thermally induced image distortions will provide early fire warning. The sensor will operate autonomously; we anticipate a networked set of such sensors, each having sufficient signal processing capability to determine sensor health and alarm conditions. Our innovation includes the use of highly miniaturized, low cost components. The cross line projector is a laser pointer combined with a small (4 mm × 4 mm) piece of etched clear plastic; diffraction forms the line pattern. There are no moving parts.

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

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