NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 X3.04-9258
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spacecraft Fire Protection
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Fire Detector for Space Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, 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)
Joerg Kutzner
67 Condesa Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508 - 8136
(505) 466-3830

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4 to 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
New sensor technology is required to face the challenging tasks associated with future space exploration involving missions to the Moon and Mars. The safety and well-being of the crew critically depends on early detection of threats as well as maintaining stable and acceptable conditions in the crew habitat. Prototype sensor technology being developed on this project addresses both aspects. Carbon monoxide formation is a reliable indicator of evolving fire threats and this gaseous combustion product allows rapid early detection. A highly sensitive carbon monoxide sensor is proposed for early, fast and unfailing fire detection. Current fire detectors are prone to fatigue and have insufficient sensitivity, selectivity and time-response. Smoke detectors cannot detect early stages of combustion and become unreliable if exposed to dust particulates. A second project part addresses habitat air composition monitoring. A multi-species device will be developed to simultaneously monitor oxygen, carbon dioxide and moisture. The optical sensors developed on this project have unique features like fast response, high precision and strong species selectivity. Design criteria such as small footprint, low weight, low power consumption as well as internal calibration and continuous sensor health monitoring will be implemented to provide spaceflight optimized sensors. An absorption approach using modulation techniques implemented on size optimized platforms will be applied.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The targeted NASA applications are early detection of fire threats and monitoring of air composition onboard spacecraft. The emerging technology is adaptable to changing pressure conditions and suitable to operate in diverse environments, including corrosive atmospheres. The developed technology can be extended to selectively detect trace gas species for NASA relevant applications such as contaminant sensing in air revitalization and water recovery processes, and atmospheric composition monitoring. The emerging technology will also be suitable for use on both manned and unmanned terrestrial atmospheric research craft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The developed sensor will be a general device for highly reliable, sensitive fire detection which shall find applications in protecting high value buildings and fire prevention in aviation. Beyond these applications, the developed sensor platform will be broadly deployable for trace gas detection of a variety of molecules with a cost-effective, small device. Examples include contaminant monitoring in process gas streams in the chemical and microelectronics industries, medical diagnosis through detection of biogenic gases in human breath that correlate to specific pathologies, and environmental monitoring and regulatory compliance in agriculture, power production, and occupational safety. The fully-developed Phase II instruments shall offer a compelling and desirable blend of performance, affordability, compactness, simplicity and ease-of-use relative to present commercial product offerings in these applications.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Air Revitalization and Conditioning
Biomedical and Life Support
Portable Life Support
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors

Form Generated on 08-08-08 10:51