This proposal targets the improvement of NASA's ground and flight test aeronautics testing capabilities. Potential end users within NASA include ground test facilities such as Western Aeronautical Test Range (WATR) and Flight Loads Laboratory (FLL), as well as flight facilities such as AFRC with both piloted and unmanned systems. Real-time, in-flight data regarding combustor condition and emissions species can provide a previously unavailable test capability for NASA. Monitoring of bleed air for contaminants and fuel backflow is also an area of interest. The sensor probe systems proposed in this project are aligned with the next step testing which has been proposed for the VIPR program. Potential VIPR 4 or 5 activities could include measurements of the bleed air and engine exhaust using on-board chemical sensors. Presently no such sensors exist and they would need to be developed along the lines proposed in this project.
All commercial passenger aircraft manufacturers are highly interested in sensors for monitoring bleed air quality to avoid exposure of harmful or noxious gases to passengers and crew. MEI is currently in discussions with The Boeing Company looking at sensor approaches for bleed air monitoring. MEI has been working Cobham PLC on pilot breathing air quality monitoring for the Air Force for aircraft which use OBOGS systems to supply pilot breathing air. Cobham is a major US Defense contractor has approximately 70% of the world wide OBOGS market. Cobham is currently seeking chemical sensing technology for OBOGS monitoring. A multi-species, on-engine capable, exhaust or combustor sensor is a product desired and sought after by the engines companies including Rolls Royce, GE, and Pratt & Whitney. A similar product is the expressed interest of stationary gas turbine manufacturers including GE and Siemens.