has delivered impressive results in researching, developing, and
maturing state-of-the-art technologies through strong industry
product development relationships and continuous performance feedback.
Makel Engineering has successfully provided the necessary support
and product development insights to introduce MEMS-based technologies
for a variety of government and commercial applications. MEI has
an ongoing commitment to transform advanced technology into innovative
products. The following chronology highlights Makel Engineering’s
Space Shuttle Discovery
NASA’s top priority is ensuring the safety of shuttle support
staff and crew. One key concern is monitoring hydrogen levels during
the pre-launch cryogenic fueling sequence as well as throughout
the launch process. Today, information is gathered through a complex
system of sampling hardware. Makel Engineering’s hydrogen
sensor flew as a technology demonstrator on STS 95 and 96 and can
simplify the sampling process and improve the quality of potential
hydrogen leak detection information. This technology can also be
used to detect leaks in a range of other launch vehicle applications.
Lockheed Martin X-33
While today's launch systems are complex and costly to operate,
the X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) program stressed a simple,
fully reusable vehicle that would operate much like an airliner.
NASA hoped to cut payload costs from today’s $10,000 a pound,
to about $1,000 a pound. To accomplish this goal the RLV was a single-stage-to-orbit
spacecraft that did not drop off components on its way to orbit.
It relied on its own built-in engines to reach orbit, omitting the
need for additional boosters. The Program was a technology partnership
program between NASA and industry to flight test a range of technologies
needed for the successful development of an RLV. As part of this
partnership, Makel Engineering designed and built a fully functional
hydrogen safety system for use on the X-33 RLV.
NASA Hypersonic X-43
NASA has established an experimental hypersonic test program called
Hyper-X. The program utilizes an “air-breathing” engine
technology for use in future reusable space launch vehicles. While
conventional rocket engines are powered by mixing fuel with oxygen,
both of which are traditionally carried onboard the aircraft, the
Hyper-X will carry only its fuel – hydrogen. The oxygen needed
to burn the fuel will come from the atmosphere. The benefit to future
launch vehicles is increased payload capacity because the heavy
oxygen tanks that a typical rocket must carry are no longer required.
Makel Engineering was selected to provide the hydrogen safety sensors
for Hyper-X, and continues to provide systems for this ongoing program.
International Space Station (ISS)
A key requirement of the long-term health and safety of personnel
on the international space station is ensuring a sustainable living
environment. Management of in-situ hydrogen levels is integral to
the performance of the life support system and the safety of the
crew. The sensors will warn the system if hydrogen concentrations
reach critical (and potentially explosive) levels. Makel Engineering’s
hydrogen sensing system, utilizes three sensors working in parallel
to provide the system a constant reading of current hydrogen levels.
As part of this ongoing program Makel Engineering will provide service
and support for these triple redundant units. The systems will return
from the station to Makel’s calibration lab for regular recalibration
- insuring the accuracy and reliability of the system for years
The use of fuel cells for power generation enables a range of exciting
new products. One such product is the Helios high-altitude long-duration
remote-control airplane. This vehicle is designed to fly interrupted
for several months without the need to refuel because it will draw
power from the sun by day and from fuel cells at night. Helios will
provide broadband networking mobile phone service and HDTV signals
over a large geographic region. Eliminating the need for many ground
based communication resources. Assuring the health and safety of
the onboard fuel cells, is an important component of the long-term
use of this technology. Makel Engineering, working in conjunction
with NASA Glenn Research Center and Case Western Reserve University,
monitor the fuel cells of the Helios vehicle for the presence of
hazardous leaks, which may damage the power supply of the vehicle.
Ford Model U
Makel Engineering through a new spinoff company, Standard Hydrogen,
Inc., provides Ford’s research and development team with a
comprehensive hydrogen monitoring system for both the passenger
cabin and other critical monitoring locations including the engine
and fuel storage compartments. The safety system provides continuous
leak monitoring, and has been demonstrated at car shows and other
advanced automotive technology events. This effort represents the
company’s commitment to pursuing large-scale commercialization
of Makel Engineering’s proprietary hydrogen technologies.