Rocket engines and related
hardware undergo extensive propulsion testing before being accepted
into service. Ground propulsion testing can incur unexpected
schedule delays and cost overruns due to untimely maintenance,
repair, or replacement of unique valves. Efforts for monitoring the
operational condition of the test facility valves drove the
development of a novel Valve Health Monitoring System (VHMS).
The VHMS was developed with the inclusion of data-acquisition, wireless data-communication, and data-processing subsystems for tracking both real-time and historical time-stamped data. The Class I Division II system is appropriate for all kinds of structural and infrastructure monitoring. The system can be utilized in commercial applications that require long term monitoring for different types of events associated with such quantities as strain, temperature, position, milliamps, voltage, and magnetic fields. The system functions as a stand alone facility monitoring unit or as a networked component within a health-management system.
The technology was designed for economically detecting degraded performance and deterioration in the mechanical integrity of high-geared ball valves and linearly actuated valves that operate within the harsh propulsion environment. Beyond valve monitoring, the technology has been effective at performing real time safe-to-proceed verifications for degraded structural integrity of hydrogen barge dock facilities. This allowed repairs to be safely performed while avoiding facility down-time. Like no other technology, the system’s highly power conservative smart instrumentation remains within a dormant state drawing absolutely no power between data collection cycles. The combination of the technology’s power conservation along with energy harvesting and asynchronous collection capabilities makes it a powerful health monitoring tool with virtually no maintenance required for recharging or replacing power storage elements.
AST Electronics Engineer
Stennis Space Center
Scott Jensen is an AST Electronics Engineer at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, within the Engineering & Test Directorate, working on the design, development, and fabrication of instrumentation systems in support of the ground propulsion test facilities. The work that Mr. Jensen does at the development level supports all aspects of rocket engine propulsion testing. Mr. Jensen has worked significantly to harness the vibrational energy produced by rocket propulsion systems and its utilization for powering wireless instrumentation. Mr. Jensen has also contributed to the advancement of the piezoelectric instrumentation technological field through his piezoelectric research and development.
Mr. Jensen began his career at Stennis Space Flight Center in 1998. He is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. Mr. Jensen holds a patent for In-Situ Health Monitoring of Piezoelectric Sensors and has a patent pending for specialized piezoelectric based gravimeter instrumentation. He also has a patent pending for an ultra-low power Valve Health Monitoring System Utilizing Smart Instrumentation.
Dr. Ramona Travis
Stennis Space Center
Dr. Ramona Pelletier Travis is the Chief Technologist for the NASA Stennis Space Center (SSC) and serves as a center point of contact for the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist and the agency Mission Directorates for technology initiatives.
Ramona is a Physical Scientist with BS and MS degrees from Auburn University and the Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. She also serves as the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Coordinator for all of the federal labs in the southeastern United States.
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