MicroStrain Inc. provided NASA Kennedy Space Center with the wireless sensor technology to remotely monitor lift off acoustics and vibration generated during the launch of both Endeavour and Atlantis space shuttles. The noise generated by rocket exhaust affects the safety of spacecraft, ground facilities and hazardous equipment. Data gathered by MicroStrain’s sensors was used in corroborating prediction models. The deployed sensor network provides NASA with the means to implement scalable, wireless sensors capable of proactively monitoring high-value, hazardous systems.

MicroStrain’s wireless solution was comprised of multiple G-Link accelerometers, a SG-Link strain node, a wireless sensor data aggregator (WSDA), and SensorCloud, the company’s latest web based data management platform. MicroStrain’s project with NASA focused on quantifying the effects of acoustics and vibration on far-field equipment.

MicroStrain Sensors to Monitor Vibroacoustic Shock During Rocket LaunchesThe noise generated by rocket exhaust during shuttle launch events generates considerable effects on the safety of spacecraft, ground facilities, and equipment. Accumulated stress threatens the safe operation of exposed systems. MicroStrain worked with NASA Kennedy Space Center researchers to implement a wireless sensor solution. The solution enabled web based monitoring of far-field shuttle launch acoustics. Test results corroborated prediction models with accurate, easily accessible field data. Furthermore, the deployed sensor network provides NASA with the foundation to implement a scalable remote sensor network capable of proactively monitoring high-value, hazardous systems.

The overarching goal of the NASA rocket acoustics program is to monitor hazardous systems remotely. One system of particular interest for NASA to monitor is the Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel (COPV) used to house various types of pressurized fluids. COPVs are acutely subject to internal pressure and proximity to shuttle launch. Failure of these systems poses a significant threat to mission safety and assurance. Conventional, hardwired solutions cannot monitor the strain experienced by these hazardous systems due to limited accessibility and extreme operating conditions. NASA considered a variety of systems and found that MicroStrain’s sensing solutions met all of their requirements for this particular project.