Concepts of an autonomous and automated space-compliant diagnostic system were developed for conditioned- based maintenance (CBM) of rocket motors for space exploration vehicles. The diagnostic system will provide real-time information on the integrity of critical structures on launch vehicles, improve their performance, and greatly increase crew safety while decreasing inspection costs. Using the SMART Layer technology as a basis, detailed procedures and calibration techniques for implementation of the diagnostic system were developed.
The diagnostic system is a distributed system, which consists of a sensor network, local data loggers, and a host central processor. The system detects external impact to the structure. The major functions of the system include an estimate of impact location, estimate of impact force at impacted location, and estimate of the structure damage at impacted location.
This system consists of a large-area sensor network, dedicated multiple local data loggers with signal processing and data analysis software to allow for realtime, in situ monitoring, and long-term tracking of structural integrity of solid rocket motors. Specifically, the system could provide easy installation of large sensor networks, onboard operation under harsh environments and loading, inspection of inaccessible areas without disassembly, detection of impact events and impact damage in real-time, and monitoring of a large area with local data processing to reduce wiring.