1984-10-01

Reusable Rocket Engine Turbopump Condition Monitoring 841619

Significant improvements in engine readiness with reductions in maintenance costs and turnaround times can be achieved with an engine condition monitoring systems (CMS). The CMS provides health status of critical engine components, without disassembly, through monitoring with advanced sensors. Engine failure reports over 35 years were categorized into 20 different modes of failure. Rotor bearings and turbine blades were determined to be the most critical in limiting turbopump life. Measurement technologies were matched to each of the failure modes identified. Three were selected to monitor the rotor bearings and turbine blades: the isotope wear detector and fiberoptic deflectometer (bearings), and the fiberoptic pyrometer (blades). Signal processing algorithms were evaluated for their ability to provide useful health data to maintenance personnel. Design modifications to the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) high pressure turbopumps were developed to incorporate the sensors. Laboratory test fixtures have been designed for monitoring the rotor bearings and turbine blades in simulated turbopump operating conditions.

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