Rocket propulsion development requires rigorous ground testing to mitigate propulsion system risks inherent to spaceflight. There is a need for advanced ground test technology components and system-level ground test systems that enhance technology development and certification; enhance environment simulation; minimize test program time, cost and risk; and meet existing environmental and safety regulations. There is a particular interest in ground-test and launch-environment technologies with potential to substantially reduce costs and improve safety/reliability of NASA's test and launch operations.
Sporian Microsystems, Inc. proposes the development and application of ultra-high-temperature, high data rate, “smart” dynamic pressure sensors that are suitable for installation in the combustion chamber wall of advanced propulsion systems, such as liquid rockets, to provide real-time monitoring of combustion stability. This in-situ pressure sensor system will provide combustion stability information during operation, and be suitable for use with advanced controls, resulting in improved safety, reliability, and efficiency for liquid rocket and other advanced engine propulsion operation.
The proposed technology is based on prior/ongoing high-temperature sensor development conducted under NASA, US Air Force, and DOE funding. The long-term objective of the proposed effort is to translate and advance this technology for use in advanced propulsion system ground testing applications. Because of the broad utility and economics of this innovation, both NASA and non-NASA applications are extensive.
Phase I: Work with technical partners and industry stakeholders to define system requirements, evaluate and define hardware/electronics architectures and designs, and proof-of-principle testing/demonstration using benchtop-scale prototype hardware. If successful, Sporian will be well positioned for the Phase II efforts, focused on full system prototyping and field testing/demonstration.
NASA applications for the current technology include any rocket system program such as Space Launch System with the RS-25 engine systems. With crosscutting advanced monitoring capabilities, the technology has applications in solid and liquid rocket; other advanced propulsion systems; ground test and launch technologies; planetary exploration instrumentation; and any program requiring harsh environment dynamic monitoring; all with potential to substantially reduce the costs and improve safety/reliability of NASA's test and launch operations.
Providing pressure monitoring and performance metrics benefits propulsion markets (military, civilian aerospace, marine, rail, locomotive), ground transportation, energy generation (nuclear, CSP, supercritical CO2, ground turbines), oil and gas, government and academic laboratories. Potential benefits include maximized efficiency, improved safety, and advanced maintenance and PHM capabilities.