Un-cooled High-Temperature Hypersonic Force Measurement System

Period of Performance: 04/02/2008 - 01/02/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator


The design of hypersonic vehicles is challenging when compared to other flight vehicles. This is largely due to the inadequacy of ground testing capabilities for reproducing the combined temperature and flow effects present during hypersonic flight. Luna Innovations Incorporated proposes to develop a high-temperature, un-cooled, three-component force balance based on proven fiber optic sensing technology. Luna, teaming with a leading OEM, will design and develop a force balance that can accurately measure a combination of angle-of-attack, yaw, pitch, drag, lift, and moment while withstanding continuous operating temperatures of 900°F (482°C) as seen during hypersonic tests at ground based facilities. This high speed data collection system and thermally compensated, high accuracy balance is necessary to advance the testing capabilities of ground based facilities. Luna is a world leader in the development of sensing systems, supplying solutions for a variety of harsh-environment applications. This development will utilize proven sensor technology that integrates active, integrated thermal compensation with a highly accurate, miniaturized, multi-channel sensing network. The small size of the force balance combined with a high channel count data processing system designed by Luna, will provide advanced ground based measurement capabilities for the Air Force for virtually any size wind tunnel test model.