26 November 2009 Enhancing Spacecraft Safety

Fiber optic sensor

A team including researchers from ICFO, iTEAM, and the aerospace company EMXYS develops a new spacecraft safety system for ESA. ICFO Research Fellows Vittoria Finazzi and Joel Villatoro led by ICFO Group Leader and ICREA professor Valerio Pruneri, together with Dr. Salvador Sales (Politechnic University of Valencia) and Mr. Francisco García de Quirós (aerospace company EMXYS, Elche) have recently presented their protective device for enhancing the security of space vehicles at the European Space Agency\'s premises in The Netherlands.

The fiber optics design allows real time simultaneous measurements of temperatures -often reaching 1800ºF- at several different points on the vehicle’s protective shell. Significantly slighter and more compact than traditional setups, it marks an important breakthrough in the field of health monitoring systems. The project, developed during two years and financed by ESA, has also received the collaboration of the Basque company INASMET-TECNALIA.