MEMSonic Boom: Sensing and Acquisition for Sonic Boom Flight Research – SBIR Phase 1

Contract Number – 80NSSC21C0229 | SBIR Phase 1 | Principal Investigator – Chip Patterson | Project Start Date – 5/19/2021

The Interdisciplinary Consulting Corporation (IC2) proposes to develop a low-cost, low-frequency (infrasound) microphone and a highly-distributed wireless sensing and acquisition system for the measurement of sonic booms. The microphone and acquisition system are applicable in far-field acoustic measurements such as those encountered during supersonic over-ground tests. This proposed technology is in response to NASA SBIR 2021 Phase I solicitation subtopic A2.01: Flight Test and Measurement for the improvement of “Test techniques…that capture data in various spectra, for conducting quantitative in-flight boundary … near and far-field sonic boom determination, and atmospheric modeling as well as measurements of global surface pressure and shock wave propagation.”

By minimizing the technological, logistical, and cost-prohibitive issues surrounding the deployment of spatially distributed acoustic arrays, the proposed distributed wireless acoustic sensing and acquisition system expands NASA’s technology portfolio with test equipment that allows for faster, higher-accuracy testing at a lower cost. The measurement capabilities of the proposed hardware will allow for an array with a broadened capture area of sonic boom impact on the ground, enhanced resolution and accuracy of sonic boom direction of arrival estimations, volumetric capture of sonic boom propagation, and high-fidelity sonic boom signature capture at every measurement location. These improvements will enable arrays with substantial expansion of the instrumented volume for sonic boom measurements compared to current and previous arrays. The primary target application for the system is overland sonic boom testing with a specific focus on low boom development testing. Other general flyover applications where two- or three-dimensional capture of the propagating sound from an aircraft is desired, could also be supported by this system’s capabilities.

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