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SBIR/STTR

High-Performance Contaminant Monitor for Spacecraft, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

High-Performance Contaminant Monitor for Spacecraft, Phase II
The Vision for Space Exploration demands increasing reliance on real-time trace gas monitors onboard spacecraft. Present grab samples and badges will be inadequate beyond low-Earth-orbit. New better monitors will be critical components for early detection of fire, release event monitoring, crew habitability, and air revitalization processes. The danger from fire and toxic releases aboard spacecraft is constant with only moments for detection and contravention. Spacecraft are unique high-value systems where failure is measured in lives, dollars, time, and public perception. Space crews have little chance of escaping vessels that cannot continue to support life. It is imperative to detect danger in these closed-cycle environments at the earliest possible moment. Present fire detectors onboard spacecraft are inadequate due to fatigue, sensitivity or time response. Smoke detectors are insufficient for detecting the earliest stages of combustion. Further, smoke detectors will become increasingly unreliable due to false alarms upon exposure to dust particulates from the Moon and Mars. Sensors are needed to directly detect the molecular products of combustion. Vista Photonics proposes to develop rugged, compact prototype optical fire detection and contaminant monitoring instrumentation capable of selectively measuring a critical suite of contaminants at parts-per-million (ppm) or better sensitivities in a few seconds. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

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