Wireless Sensor System to Detect Leaks on the International Space Station


Leaks causing air and heat loss are a major safety concern for astronauts. University of Maine researchers are designing and testing a wireless leak detection system for the International Space Station (ISS) that could lead to increased safety on the ISS and for other space activities by helping astronauts and scientists quickly isolate and repair damage that affects pressurized environments. Their project was one of five in the nation to receive funding from NASA's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) for research and technology development onboard ISS. It involves the development of a flight-ready wireless sensor system that will be able to quickly detect and localize leaks, even before they start to cause any pressure drop, based on ultrasonic sensor array signals. The proposed system is fast, accurate, and capable of detecting multiple leaks and localizing them with a lightweight and low-cost system. The technology also could be used on Earth in the event of gas and oil leaks at industrial plants.