NASA plans to test a leak detector aboard the International Space Station as part of efforts to maintain safety for onboard astronauts through alerts about the location of a leak.
The University of Maine’s Orono campus developed the detector under the space agency’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program based at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA said Saturday.
Congress mandated EPSCoR to fund experiments meant for flights to the space station and projects on deep space explorations.
“The system prototype is to be launched to the ISS possibly in early 2017,” said Crystal Bassett, EPSCoR’s project coordinator.
Co-principal investigators of the project are Ali Abedi, professor of electrical and computer engineering and Vince Caccese, professor of mechanical engineering.
“The prototype, developed at the Wireless Sensing Laboratory on Maine’s Orono campus, has six flight-ready wireless sensors that can quickly and accurately hone in on a leak,” according to a report written by Abedi and Caccese.
The report explains that the prototype works to detect the frequency generated by the escaping air before the detector pinpoints its location with a series of algorithms.
University of Maine electrical engineering graduate students Casey Clark and Lonnie Labonte tested the leak detector in April 2016 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.