Seeing Sound - Image Analysis of the Lift-off Acoustic Field

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013

$700K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Leaping Catch, LLC
379 Cheney Highway, #223
Titusville, FL 32780
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

A launch vehicle and its launch facilities are subjected to intense acoustic loads generated by the vehicle's propulsion system. The vehicle, its payload, and facilities must be designed to withstand these loads to ensure mission safety and success. Accurately accounting for the acoustic environment early in the design phase of a new launch vehicle is a high priority. Governments and aerospace entities expend significant resources investigating launch acoustics using a combination of predictive models, full-scale and subscale tests, and test flights. Sensors that acquire acoustic data are deployed over a limited geometry and do not sample the full three-dimensional volume exposed to the acoustic field. Launch imagery samples that three-dimensional volume. Under appropriate conditions, rapidly varying condensation features are generated by the lift-off acoustic field. A software tool will be developed to determine the three-dimensional structure of the field from imagery of these acoustically-induced features. This unique data will be compared to model predictions and will serve to either validate those models or inspire modifications to those models. Improving predictive models contributes to a more reliable and efficient design process for new launch vehicle propulsion systems, and thus reduces associated design costs.