A document describes research into the problem of detecting a case breach formation at an early stage of a rocket flight. An inversion algorithm for case breach allocation is proposed and analyzed. It is shown how the case breach can be allocated at an early stage of its development by using the rocket sensor data and the output data from the control block of the rocket navigation system. The results are simulated with MATLAB/Simulink software. The efficiency of an inversion algorithm for a case breach location is discussed.

The research was devoted to the analysis of the ARES-l flight during the first 120 seconds after the launch and early prediction of case breach failure. During this time, the rocket is propelled by its first-stage Solid Rocket Booster (SRB). If a breach appears in SRB case, the gases escaping through it will produce the (side) thrust directed perpendicular to the rocket axis. The side thrust creates a torque influencing the rocket attitude. The ARES-l control system will compensate for the side thrust until it reaches some critical value, after which the flight will be uncontrollable. The objective of this work was to obtain the start time of case breach development and its location using the rocket inertial navigation sensors and GNC data.

The algorithm was effective for the detection and location of a breach in an SRB field joint at an early stage of its development.

This work was done by Ryan M. Mackey and Igor K. Kulikov of Caltech and Anupa Bajwa, Peter Berg, and Vadim Smelyanskiy of Ames Research Center for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Information Sciences category.

The software used in this innovation is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Daniel Broderick of the California Institute of Technology at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to NPO-47285.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Inversion Method for Early Detection of ARES-1 Case Breach Failure

(reference NPO-47285) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the November, 2010 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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