Testing of rocket engines requires an extensive instrumentation of the article under test in order to collect data on the performance of various aspects of the engine. Currently these sensors require extensive wiring both on the test article and within the test stand in order to connect the sensors to the data acquisition equipment. This instrumentation is complex, often including several hundreds of sensors that are attached or embedded at various locations on the article in order to provide situational awareness of the health and performance of the test article. The process of connecting the sensors requires engineering of complex wiring paths, harnesses, amplifiers, signal conditioners, calibration interfaces, etc. on both the test article and the test stand in order to communicate the information to the data acquisition system. The integration of the test article into the test stand requires extensive time for connection of each sensor to the data acquisition equipment, testing the connections and equipment, and calibrating the sensor for its environment and other processes to ensure accurate and robust data collection. This process can be a significant amount of time and manpower to accomplish, during which time the test stand remains manned and occupied. This incurs significant costs both in the direct cost associated with an active test stand, and with lost opportunity cost because the test stand cannot be used for other testing.
Our proposed innovation is to create a comprehensive end-to-end architecture to support rapid yet robust instrumentation and integration of test articles into the test stand leveraging wireless sensor technology. This innovation will reduce instrumentation costs, test stand maintenance costs, and test article integration costs while still maintaining a robust, reliable, and verifiable data acquisition capability. Existing solutions are not adequate to support the requirements for NASA instrumentation and data acquisition.
No commercial product known provides an end-to-end, plug and play solution, that connects to NASA’s existing data acquisition system (DAS) architecture, provides the same level or better DAS end user experience, or allows existing wireless sensor manufacturers a way to connect and integrate with the NASA DAS in a non-proprietary and interoperable ubiquitous way. The new wireless sensor components would provide more options for sensor placement and management anywhere wiring is too difficult, expensive, dangerous, or otherwise unpractical.
Manufacturers and solution developers may change how large non-Internet bound offerings are designed, delivered, and maintained. The new wireless sensor components would provide more options for sensor placement and management within any industry seeking to place a sensor or set of sensors where wiring is too difficult, expensive, dangerous, or otherwise unpractical.