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Orthogonal Air Quality Sensor Suite

September 2016 - Makel Engineering has been awarded an Air Force Phase II contract to develop an Orthogonal Air Quality Sensor Suite for onboard monitoring of air quality in aircraft. The system combines single species solid state chemical sensors with a miniature ion mobility spectrometer (IMS) to monitor a wide range of potential contaminants of onboard aircraft. Several solid state chemical sensors will be derived from previous research for fire detection and emissions monitoring. The miniature IMS technology will enable detection of a wide range of volatile organic compounds and other vapors, significantly expanding the capabilities of the solid state sensors.

 
 

Additive Manufacturing Techniques for Fabrication of Payload and Munitions

September 2016 - Makel Engineering has been awarded a Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Phase I contract to demonstrate how additive manufacturing technologies can be used with reactive and high energy materials to create rapid and flexible fabrication of payload and munitions. Reactive payloads formed by additive manufacturing can improve the payload effect/mass ratio by replacing structural elements in the munition that would otherwise be inert. In the future, we anticipate additive manufacturing may be able to create new, highly-controllable and tailored payload effects that would not be possible with traditional munitions. The program will focus on demonstrating the fundamental building blocks and techniques that can facilitate this development process.

 
 

UAV Based Chemical Sensors for In-situ Volcanic Gas Measurements

June 2016 - Makel Engineering has been awarded a NASA SBIR Phase I contract to develop a low cost, UAV based microsensor array payload for monitoring volcanic processes such as plume vents and hot lava flows. Arrays of thick and thin film microsensors suitable for operation in harsh environments are packaged with compact electronics and data transmission capability. The lightweight payloads (under 200 grams) can be suspended under a small UAV multi-copter for measurements near lava flows, or can be packaged as a dropsonde and deployed in regions which are too hostile for low altitude UAV flight. The role of UAVs in support of NASA science missions has been expanding, with recent applications including the study of volcanoes to validate atmospheric models and to gain new insight into mechanisms. UAVs role is also expanding in commercial markets, with potential applications including monitoring systems in harsh environments such as deep mines, refineries and chemical plants, automated detection of gas leaks from pipes at plant yards of large industrial complexes.

 
 

Aircraft Chemical Sensor Arrays for Onboard Engine and Bleed Air Monitoring

June 2016 - Makel Engineering has been awarded a NASA SBIR Phase I contract to develop flight capable chemical microsensor arrays for in-situ monitoring of high temperature bleed air and turbine exhaust in jet engines. There currently is no flight capable instrumentation for real time measurement of high temperature gas streams from engine bleed air or the turbine exhaust. High temperature sensor arrays developed by MEI have been demonstrated for ground tests usage to quantify composition of critical constituents in turbine engine exhaust products, such as oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, and unburned hydrocarbons. Ground test demonstrations with high temperature capable (500 to 600oC) solid-state chemical microsensors have shown the potential value for engine health monitoring and detection of engine faults or abnormal operations from ingestion of high moisture levels or particulate from volcanic emissions. This program will mature the technology to support flight operation.

 
 

Harsh Environment Electronics to Support Monitoring Venus Atmosphere's Composition

June 2016 - Makel Engineering has been awarded a NASA SBIR Phase I contract to develop a high temperature, radiation hard electronics sensing architecture for a high temperature chemical sensor array suitable for measuring key chemical species in the Venus atmosphere. The architecture is based on SiC electronics building blocks developed by NASA GRC which have been demonstrated to operate for thousands of hours at 500oC, which enables development of the electronics for signal conditioning, control and data transmission that can operate at Venus atmosphere without cooling. The use of high temperature, electronics which do not require active cooling will enable instrumentation to operate in environments which exceed the 250oC limit of commercial high temperature electronics, in applications such as mining, deep oil drilling, jet engine instrumentation and controls, solid oxide fuel cells, monitoring of geothermal wells, and deep underground mining.

 
 

Airborne Carbon Monoxide Sensor for Atmospheric Monitoring

May 2016 - Makel Engineering has been awarded a NOAA SBIR Phase I contract to develop a compact carbon monoxide (CO) sensor suitable for deployment in small UAVs, and capable of detecting ppb levels of CO in the atmosphere. Using multiple low cost UAVs flying at different altitudes can produce vertically resolved measurements of CO concentration and provide atmospheric profiling measurements (vertically resolved CO concentration data), CO plume measurements and propagation of CO in the atmosphere. However, there currently are limited options for adapting commercial chemical sensing technology to payloads compatible with small UAV sensing for CO at the levels required, and with fast response time. The proposed airborne carbon monoxide sensor will provide a low cost instrument to enable geographical and temporal profiling of CO in the atmosphere.

 
 

Chemical Microsensors for Cryogenic Purge Line Monitoring

March 2016 - Makel Engineering has been selected to receive a NASA SBIR Phase II award to develop a miniaturized Multi-Species Chemical Microsensor Instrument suitable for real-time, in situ measurements for monitoring purge effectiveness in cryogenic propellant lines. This is follow on funding to continue the work started in a Phase I award. Helium is a scarce, strategic and non-renewable natural resource. Without real time measurement of species being purged from systems, extended purge cycles and excess helium is used to ensure completely purged lines. The sensors will be designed to be permanently installed in purge and vent lines at cryogenic propellant storage, transfer, test stand and launch facilities. NASA is a major user of helium and significant future cost savings in operations can be realized with improved monitoring of purge activities.

 
 

Advanced Chemical Sensors for Smart Cities

January 2016 - Makel Engineering launched the Airmeteo brand, focused on advanced sensor systems for Smart Cities applications. The brand will focus on sensor deployment in stationary infrastructure, vehicles, and small UAVs. The sensor technology was originally developed for DoD and NASA and is used in applications ranging from early fire detection on spacecraft and air quality monitoring in aircraft to UAV based chemical sensing. The technology has been adapted into commercial, mass producible, IOT connected modules for Smart Cities applications. Sensor modules have been developed which can be deployed on city fleet vehicles, bus stops, schools, and office buildings collected via wireless internet or cellular connections.

 
 

Firefighters/Fire Prevention and Safety Grant from the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency

August 2015 - Makel Engineering is participating on a three year program led by the Case Western Reserve University and with participation from NASA Glenn Research Center and firefighters nationwide to develop and test a low cost, wearable sensor system to protect firefighters from respiratory damage and illness. The Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the group an Assistance to Firefighters/Fire Prevention and Safety Grant to make prototypes that include real time monitoring of toxic gases and respiratory particulates. The prototype will alert structural and wildland firefighters of hazards in the air during the phase called "fire overhauling or mop up", when the main fire in buildings, forests or open land have been knocked down and their duties include cleaning up, detecting and preventing secondary fires.

 
 

Chemical Sensors for UAV-Based Atmospheric Measurements

May 2015 - Makel Engineering has been awarded a NASA SBIR Phase II to develop a chemical microsensor system for UAV-based atmospheric measurements. Chemical species mapping using UAVs enables model validation and attaining new data that complements and augments traditional aerial and satellite data. The proposed system adapts low cost and low power solid-state chemical microsensor technology which has been demonstrated for fire detection and exhaust emission monitoring to airborne measurements.

 
 

Harsh Environment Gas Sensor Array for Venus Atmospheric Measurements

September 2013 - Makel Engineering has been awarded a NASA SBIR Phase II contract to develop a harsh environment tolerant gas sensor array for atmospheric analysis in future Venus missions. The goal is to provide information on local concentrations in order to complement other measurement systems. A complete sensor array will be tested at the NASA Glenn Extreme Environment Rig (GEER) to provide simulation of the Venus atmosphere at different conditions.

 
 

High Temperature Sensors for Aeronautical Research

April 2012 - Makel Engineering has been awarded a NASA Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract, giving continuity to research initiated in a Phase I award. The project focuses on transitioning multi-species microsensor technology from ground-based to flyable systems, building on knowledge accumulated on ground-based systems to develop a flyable prototype. A flyable system will enable on-board monitoring of engine exhaust composition, leading to improvements in engine control and reduced emissions.