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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Advancement of Miniature Optic Gas Sensor (MOGS) Probe Technology

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

"Advancement of Miniature Optic Gas Sensor (MOGS) Probe Technology" project will investigate newly developed optic gas sensors delivered from a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II effort.  A ventilation test rig will be designed and fabricated to test the sensors while integrated with a Suited Manikin Test Apparatus (SMTA).  Once the sensors are integrated, a series of test points will be completed to verify that the sensors can withstand Advanced Suit Portable Life Support System (PLSS) environments and associated human metabolic profiles for changes in pressure and levels of Oxygen (ppO2), carbon dioxide (ppCO2), and humidity (ppH2O).

Space suit life support systems are critically necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station (ISS) and future human space exploration missions for in-space micro-gravity Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and planetary surface operations. NASA has experienced a history of failures with the existing carbon dioxide (CO2) gas sensor for the current Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU).  The failure of the current sensor technology is due to the high humidity environment of the space suit. In addition, NASA is presently developing an Advanced EMU (AEMU) Portable Life Support System (PLSS) for exploration missions. The PLSS attaches to the spacesuit pressure garment and provides approximately an 8 hour supply of oxygen for breathing, suit pressurization, ventilation; humidity, trace- contaminant, carbon dioxide (CO2) removal; and a thermal control system for crew member metabolic heat rejection. These missions will also require robust, lightweight, low-power, durable sensors for monitoring critical life support constituents in the suit.

This project will take a newly developed innovative miniature optic gas sensor (MOGS) technology and integrate it into a specially designed ventilation test loop of the PLSS.  This ventilation test loop will then be integrated with the existing Suited Manikin Test Apparatus (SMTA) in order to test real environmental parameters associated with the PLSS in a simulated spacesuit environment.  The SMTA is a NASA agency unique breathing manikin that simulates metabolic responses of an astronaut breathing in a spacesuit.  The new optic gas sensor will be delivered by Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) as part of an Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II and one optic sensor will be provided in-kind (at no cost) by IOS as a collaborative effort for this project.  A ventilation test rig will be designed and fabricated to test the sensors while integrated with the SMTA.  Once the sensors are integrated, a series of test points will be completed to verify that the sensor can withstand PLSS environments and associated human metabolic profiles for changes in pressure and levels of Oxygen (ppO2), carbon dioxide (ppCO2), and humidity (ppH2O) in the proposed test loop.

Partnerships: This project engages a multifaceted collaboration team. The collaborators includes multiple NASA centers (JSC & GRC), other federal agencies (Navy), multiple NASA programs, multiple vendors including small businesses, and multiple engineering and scientific disciplines.  The JSC PLSS lab will be location of the integration and testing.  A small business will provide the MOGS technology.

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