Obtaining detailed flow measurements during a realistic hot-fire experiment is of the upmost importance for characterizing the complicated flow physics that occur during plume-surface interactions, and for providing high-fidelity data to the modeling community for code validation. The proposed research program will help close the information gap by advancing state-of-the-art optical techniques for measuring high-speed, high-temperature, chemically reacting plumes under full-scale test conditions. Nanohmics, Inc., working in partnership with the Stevens Institute of Technology, proposes to develop and demonstrate a modular imaging system for performing non-intrusive, time-resolved flow measurements for PSI test environments. The proposed system will include a reconfigurable plenoptic objective (i.e., photographic lens) that will convert a standard high-performance camera into a multispectral high dynamic range polarimetric imaging system. Customizations afforded by the plenoptic objective will allow end-users to configure the system for different quantities of interest by trading spatial resolution for dynamic range, spectral content, or polarimetric information. The system will include a set of standard configurations and post-processing algorithms to provide turn-key measurement capabilities for hot-fire plumes of propellants commonly used in Lunar and Mars landers (e.g., LOX/H2, LOX/LCH4, and hypergolic propellants), and include functionality for generating quantities of interest for comparison with computational fluid dynamics models. Low-cost implementations of the plenoptic objective will be scalable across a wide range of reduced- and full-scale ground test environment and systems, and may be used as a new standalone measurement system or as a component upgrade to existing measurement systems.
NASA’s MSFC and LaRC are a good initial market for the technology as there is already a heavy concentration of ground testing for lunar and Mars landers in support of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMP) Game Changing Development (GCD) Plume-Surface Interaction (PSI) project. These and other NASA laboratories developing lunar lander technologies in support of NASA’s Artemis and Human Landing System (HLS) programs will also benefit from improved PSI diagnostics for ground tests.
Improved PSI ground testing and model validation for commercial lunar lander developed in support of NASA’s HLS and Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) programs. Landing site optimization for terrestrial space launch service providers using reusable rockets. General snapshot multispectral, high dynamic range, and polarimetric imaging for scientific, industrial, and defense applications.