Project Code: 16022
Project Title: Bifurcated Fiber Optic Cable System for Orion Spacecraft Heat Shield Spectrometer
Project Type: Faculty
Project Intellectual Property: University Controlled
Project Citizenship Restriction: Yes
Sponsor Company: NASA
Description: The Unbreakable Fiber Optic, or UFO, is a custom fiber-optic cable assembly intended for use in the upcoming NASA Exploration Mission 1 to test Orion spacecraft reentry capabilities. The UFO system will be attached to the Orion’s heat shield to propagate spectral data through a sapphire rod to a spectrometer so the data can be analyzed on the ground to provide information about the chemistry of the ionized gases and ablated heat shield material. The design uses a bifurcated, space-rated and verified broadband transmission optical fiber that has two loose outer jackets supported by aluminum cable clamps lined with silicone foam. The cable and its method of attachment to the spacecraft were designed, analyzed and tested to ensure that it would survive launch, space and reentry conditions. The prototype provides a verified space-rated cable that will survive the mission past low-earth orbit and back.