NASA manned and robotic missions to the surface of planetary or airless bodies require Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL). For many of these missions, EDL represents one of the riskiest phases of the mission. Despite the criticality of the EDL phase, NASA has historically gathered limited engineering data from such missions, and use of the data for real-time Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C) during EDL for precise landing (aside from Earth) has also been limited.
NASA scientists have identified a compact vacuum ultraviolet spectrometer as a key enhancement to EDL sensing.
Ozark IC has developed a far-ultraviolet focal plane array (FPA) in SiC BiCMOS technology. The 159x64 pixel FPA has a spectral response from 100[JH1] nm to 350 nm. BiCMOS test circuits in this technology have demonstrated operation for 100 hours at 500ºC suggesting this FPA will not require any active cooling to operate. The key feasibility question to be answered is: Can the high-temperature packaging and optics be designed with a maximum dimension of 10 centimeters?
The primary objective is to answer the feasibility question through a series of measurement and design tasks. Ozark IC will develop supporting FPA firmware and software for environmental testing of the FPA. LumenFlow will then design the spectrometer optics for the smallest possible form factor. Ozark IC will apply it’s high-temperature ceramic packing solutions to design a high-temperature substrate and connector system for the SiC FPA and investigate enclosure materials.
Objectives of Phase I
NASA requires compact VUV spectrometer for EDL sensors to:
Scientific Research: molecular research, ionic atmosphere analysis, ocean analyses. Heat: fire detection, sunburn protection, and diesel engine combustion analysis. Disinfection: UV light kills pathogens. UV spectrometry determines which wavelengths are being used and, therefore, which pathogens are being attacked in food, air, water disinfection systems. Quality Control: Looking for small imperfections, especially with very small dimensions in assembly lines and machine vision.