The Adaptive RuGgedized Ubiquitous Sensor Network for Aircraft Health Monitoring System (ARGUS-4AHM) provides flexible non-intrusive wireless connectivity in NASA aerospace vehicles with integrated monitoring capability, environmental effects resilience, and high maturity. Specifically, this technology: (1) aims to improve traditional instrumentation where issues are weight, wire routing to penetrate aircraft structures, long down-times, wiring labor, etc.; (2) expands the reach of avionic networks by connecting devices through boundaries without penetrations using non-intrusive, safe, and secure wireless Ultrasonic Transceiver Modules (UTMs); (3) is reliable and robust, where the energy and data transfer processes are resilient to large temperature swings and vibrations as common for aircraft operation; (4) is designed for aerospace materials (composites, aluminum), standard avionic communication buses (e.g. ARINC 429), transparent and plug-&-play deployment, and common sensor interfaces; and (5) provides flexibility with two configurations: Bus Passthrough and Node-On-ComBus. The first allows to extend multiple avionics data and power channels through a wall acoustically without wires or RF in a way that is invisible to the network nodes. The Node-On-ComBus shares these features but also enables deployment of sensors and health monitoring features in previously inaccessible spaces. Phase II tasks involve: (1) full development and implementation of Passthrough configuration for composites; (2) extending Passthrough configuration to support multiple ARINC 429 buses concurrently; (3) full development and implementation of Node-On-ComBus; (4) adding measurement and instrumentation capabilities; (5) expanding the Node-On-ComBus with health monitoring capability and customizing to NASA systems; (6) packaging and environmental design; (7) advanced and complementary features for an integral networking and monitoring solution; and (8) demonstrating the complete system.
NASA AFRC’s testbed aircraft used to conduct flight research and technology integration, validate space exploration concepts, and conduct airborne remote sensing and science observations can benefit from the ARGUS-4AHM system which advances Instrumentation and Measurement as well as Health Monitoring capabilities. Examples are Science Platforms (e.g. SOFIA, DC-8 Airborne Science Laboratory), Research and Testbed Platforms (e.g. Eagle F-15, Gulfstream G-III, X-57), Support Aircraft (e.g. Hornet F/A-18), Unmanned Aerial Platforms and many others.
Due to its compatibility with ARINC 429, the system can be used in various commercial or other aircraft to expand the reach of networks which opens sensing possibilities without compromising the integrity of the aircraft structures (e.g. sensors can be deployed outside airframe and data and power sent using safe and secure ultrasonic channels). Many other non-aerospace industries can also benefit.