Miniaturized Time Domain Terahertz Non Destructive Evaluation for In-Orbit Inspection of Inflatable Habitats and Thermal Protection Systems

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$100,000.00
Award Year:
2011
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNX11CH15P
Agency Tracking Number:
105846
Solicitation Year:
2010
Solicitation Topic Code:
X5.04
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Picometrix, LLC
MI, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104-6765
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
788133387
Principal Investigator:
David Zimdars
Principal Investigator
(734) 864-5611
dazimdars@picometrix.com
Business Contact:
Marsha Gilbert
Business Official
(734) 864-5611
mgilbert@picometrix.com
Research Institution:
Stub




Abstract
Picometrix's time-domain terahertz (TD-THz) non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technology could be usedto inspect space flight structures such as inflatable space habitats, thermal protection systems (TUFI-typetiles, SOFI TPS), for voids, disbonds, and damage such as tearing and micron-meteorite impact. In thisPhase I SBIR project, we propose to test the feasibility of three key technological changes which couldsubstantially reduce the volume, mass, and power requirement of the TD-THz instrumentation, making itmore suitable for use by an operator in space. The current instrumentation paradigm is that a multi-purposeTD-THz control unit is used to provide common drive, data acquisition, and analysis functionality tointerchangeable sensors and imaging which connect to the control unit with a fiber-optic/electricalumbilical. However, the current COTS control unit is substantially larger and heavier than would bedesirable for a space-flight capable unit. The proposed developments would enable a control unit for ahand held NDE imaging tool, sufficiently robust for spaceflight, no larger than a small shoebox. It shouldbe possible to reduce the size of the control unit to approximately one sixth of the current values to, forexample, 14 in. X 8 in. X 4 in and 10 pounds.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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