NASA Kennedy Space Center

Since 1996, FSI and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (NASA/KSC) have teamed up on technology development and research projects.

Additionally, FSI’s NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium collaborates with NASA/KSC in a wide variety of educational projects.

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center, photo courtesy of NASA

This years, FSI and NASA/KSC jointly funded several technology development efforts at UCF, making possible more work at UCF than NASA/KSC could otherwise have supported. Two examples of jointly funded NASA/KSC-FSI projects are given just below.

Active and Passive Wireless Sensors – A Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) Device

Principal Investigator: Dr. Donald Malocha, Electrical & Computer Engineering, UCF
NASA KSC Collaborator: Dr. Robert Youngquist, KSC Applied Physics Lab

Project Summary: A tremendous need for sensors exists in a broad range of applications.

  • In the military, sensors are needed for troop health monitoring, for military asset health and safety monitoring, for gas, liquid, or physical parameters, and many more.
  • The commercial applications are endless. Sensor applications for engine monitoring of temperature, oil viscosity, tire pressure and many more, are a huge market and provides tremendous savings in optimizing engine performance and maintenance.
  • Medical applications for human monitoring of health, as well as equipment monitoring, are another huge market.
  • Aviation has needs in all types of aircraft, as well as ground maintenance.

The list of possibilities in just general areas is staggering and the only limitation is the technology for implementation.

NASA has specifically shown a need for wireless sensing of physical parameters for its spacecrafts, as well as in the area of RFID tags. For this reason, the proposed research project will have a direct impact on the technology used by NASA in this area.

This research addresses not the specific sensor mechanism for which many have already been developed, but the integration of sensor devices, and the active and/or passive wireless platform for remote communications between the sensor and the transceiver base station.

Stability of the two-way shape memory effect in shape memory alloys

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rajan Vaidyanathan, Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center (AMPAC), UCF
NASA KSC Collaborator: Dr. Martha Williams, Lead Polymer Scientist, NASA KSC

Project Summary: To investigate the stability and efficacy of the two-way shape memory effect (TWSME) in shape memory alloys. Since the TWSME is not an inherent property of shape memory alloys, various training procedures will be explored. The project is complementary to a project to be funded by NASA KSC and QinetiQ North America that will identify novel shape memory alloy materials and utilize them for transient thermal management applications.