NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 B1.01-9908
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Exploiting Gravitational Effects for Combustion, Fluids, Synthesis, and Vibration Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-Performance Fire Detector for Spacecraft

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vista Photonics, Inc.
67 Condesa Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508-8136
(505)466-3953

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jeffrey S Pilgrim
jpilgrim@vistaphotonics.com
67 Condesa Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508-8136
(505)466-3953

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The danger from fire aboard spacecraft is immediate with only moments for detection and suppression. Spacecraft are unique high-value systems where the cost of failure is measured in lives and dollars. Space crews have little or no chance to escape vessels on fire. It is imperative to detect the onset of combustion in microgravity at the earliest possible moment. Present fire detectors onboard spacecraft are inadequate due to sensitivity, time response, or both. Smoke detectors are insufficient for detecting the early stages of combustion, sensors are needed to detect the products of combustion directly. These sensors must meet stringent size, weight and power requirements. Vista Photonics proposes to develop rugged, compact fire detection instrumentation capable of selectively and simultaneously measuring the combustion species HCN, acetylene, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide at parts-per-million (ppm) or better sensitivities in a 1 Hz bandwidth. The enabling technology for meeting NASA's stringent mission requirements is a new rugged, compact, and lightweight optical path length enhancement cell that recovers the theoretical sensitivity of proven high-performance optical absorption detection techniques.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The proposed technology, if successful, will find application in fire detection on high-value systems, especially spacecraft. Fire detection applications extend to aircraft and some buildings. The technology will be a general trace gas detection technique with applications in spacecraft habitability, air revitalization, waste processing, and plant production facilities during long-duration space flight.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The technology will find application in trace gas monitoring in chemical process streams. Human breath-based diagnostics of specific pathologies. Environmental monitoring and regulatory compliance in industrial settings.