Sporian Microsystems, a developer of sensors and sensor systems, has been awarded two contracts from the US Air Force to develop small, modular, field-deployable sensors for use in solid rocket motor (SRM) health assessment in the field or the depot. One project will focus on sensing potentially damaging vibrations and impacts using Sporian's AssetOverseer® SS family of accelerometers. The other effort will monitor solid rocket motor bore vapor chemistry. The efforts leverage Sporian's expertise in areas including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, analytical chemistry, optics, low power design, wireless communications and electro-mechanical packaging.
"The system should help increase operational readiness and reduce the cost of ownership by extending the service life of assets and reducing lot level replacements based on time alone. We expect to develop a low-power, networked system that will give an unprecedented, yet cost-effective view of the evolving health of these systems," said Dr. Brian Schaible of Sporian.
The Motor Branch of Space and Missile Propulsion Division of the US Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in California will monitor the results of Sporian's development efforts. ATK Launch Systems of Brigham City, UT will provide consulting support to Sporian, providing physical design requirements for retrofit and forward-fit SRM deployments and data requirements for ATK's physics-based simulation models to predict asset damage and remaining lifetime from sensor inputs. Because the contracts are targeted at small businesses, ATK's participation is capped at 1/3 of the contract funding. Beyond the DoD, Sporian anticipates opportunities in building control systems, industrial process control, occupational health and safety, and homeland defense.