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NEWS | May 16, 2018

Air Force Partnership With Small Business Provides A Big Boost To The Reusable Rocket Industry




Opto-Knowledge Systems Inc.

  • LOCATION: Torrance, California
  • TOPIC NUMBER: AF093-187
  • TOPIC TITLE: Spectral Measurement System for Health Monitoring of Liquid Rocket Engines
  • TECHNICAL PROJECT OFFICE: AFRL Aerospace Systems, Edwards AFB, CA
  • SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: Space and Missile Systems Center

Reusable rocket manufacturers are beginning to adopt a new technology that will improve launch safety and reduce maintenance costs.

With support from the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program, California-based Opto-Knowledge Systems Inc. developed a system to detect and analyze spectral emissions from the high-temperature combustion of rocket engine propellants. The Optical Combustion Analysis System, also known as OCAS, finds trace amounts of metallic elements that indicate wear or erosion of the engine components, pumps and combustion chamber.

Two major rocket engine manufacturers – Aerojet Rocketdyne and Blue Origin – have used OCAS in a test program and are exploring opportunities to incorporate the technology into their overall flight engine health management system.


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