NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Critical Technologies for Space-Based Nuclear Fission Power Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:Real-Time Micro-Miniature Dosimeter

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Luna Innovations Incorporated
2851 Commerce Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060-6657
(540) 552-5128

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert S. Fielder
2851 Commerce Street
Blacksburg, VA  24060-6657
(540) 552-5128

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The new Presidential directive to place humans on Mars and establish bases on the moon will require advances in space nuclear power generation. Nuclear power generation has a combined advantage in power density, low fuel/mass ratio, mission duration and cost over any other generation method for these missions. To meet the needs of reactor safety, health monitoring and performance, light-weight, real-time, in-core neutron and gamma monitoring sensors need to be developed. Luna is proposing to further develop a real-time miniature gamma and neutron dosimeter. This hybrid sensor will measure gamma and neutron dose independently, as well as temperature at the same location. The transducer will be less than 5mm long and 1mg in mass. This dosimeter will enable real-time determination of reactor power level, health and remaining fuel as well as shielding effectiveness. During the Phase I, Luna demonstrated feasibility of the proposed dosimeter material systems in a nuclear reactor determining that minimum dosimeter resolutions (based on material measurements) of 0.57MRad gamma and 0.83x1014n/cm2 can be accomplished with EFPI based sensors. Phase II will optimize the sensor designs and demodulation system for performance and cost, considering space hardening constraints, and demonstrate the system in high radiation and high temperature environments.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
While the sensor development will be focused on space nuclear power generation needs, the sensor can also be directly utilized for monitoring nuclear thermal propulsion systems as well as terrestrial nuclear power reactors.
Potential NASA applications include:
1. Lunar surface power reactors
2. Mars surface power reactors
3. Future long duration deep space probe power reactors
4. Future Spacestation power reactors
5. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) for Mars manned missions
6. NTP for deep space probes
7. Real-time monitoring of Astronaut radiation exposure

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
1. Terrestrial nuclear power generation reactor monitoring for improved performance, safety and reliability.
2. Navy reactor monitoring
3. Nuclear turbine and generator monitoring
4. Spent fuel and storage facility monitoring
5. Real-time facility radiation exposure monitoring, including medical applications

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Data Acquisition and End-to-End-Management
High Energy Propellents (Recombinant Energy & Metallic Hydrogen)
Nuclear (Adv Fission, Fusion, Anti-Matter, Exotic Nuclear)
Nuclear Conversion
On-Board Computing and Data Management
Particle and Fields
Pilot Support Systems
Propellant Storage
Radiation Shielding Materials
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Thermodynamic Conversion

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04