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Coordinator: National R&D Institute for Microtechnology, IMT-Bucharest  


  • Institute of Chemistry Timisoara, Romanian Academy, ICT
  • European Business Inovation and Research Centre SA, EBIC 

Period: 29 November 2013 – 29 February 2016 

Project director: Ileana Cernica

Project team: -

Description: The interdisciplinary character of the project is obvious: specialists in microsensors, in chemistry,in space, even specialiats in psihology (in order to predict people comportment in close spaces)

The efforts made for create a healthy atmosphere in space habitation areas are huge and were a success. But in the International Space Station and the stations before it (including MIR, SKYLAB) have all been afflicted with poor air-quality conditions. Air quality is an important problem for any space-based activity and can affect not only the health of the astronauts, but also their phyhological status. The problem will be greater in future very long distances and long flight space missions. Is not understanded a fatal danger problem, but is a problem of poor health and low performance (and, in space, the number of humans are limited and is impossible to replace).

So, we intend to obtain a matrix made from colorimetric microsensors for a friendly detection of the air quality (i.e. detection of CO, NOx and high level of CO2 and low level of O2) easy to be operated, freehands and detachable where the space habitants are. 

The important technological challenge will be the CO2 detection (now there are only 2-3 research teams that can detect CO2 using colorimetric microsensors) and for it we come with a new innovative technological solution based on a microfluidic device.

Project objectives: The general strategic objective of the project SAFEAIR is to participate to the fundamental formation of the space culture and the punctual strategic objective is to increase the research capability and the technological expertise of the consortium members in the field of sensors for space missions,microtechnologies (colorimetric gas sensors) and nanostructured materials (porphyrins). From these strategic objectives, the main goal of the project SAFEAIR is derived: to achieve a colorimetric microsensors matrix, assembled in multichip module technologies for air quality control in space missions habitable areas (space stations and long distance spatial missions). 

Activities: The work plan contains five phases, namely:

  • Study and documentation about air pollution in space missions habitable areas, colorimetric microsensors for gases detection and about porphyrin sensitive substances for detection of gases (2 months);
  • Simulation and technological experiments on obtaining the devices (including microfluidic device), and for synthesis of specific porphyrins (sensitive material); Experiments of individual technological processes for microsensors and about sensitive substances for detecting the target gases (7 months);
  • Technological designing and development of characterization techniques for the materials and thefunctional model; Obtaining the functional model of microsensor structures (7 months);
  • Technological development, assembling and testing the microsensor; Obtaining the functional model of the assembled microsensor; Technological optimization (6 months);
  • Achieving the area of microsensors; Demonstrating the functionality; Technological documentation in concordance with ESA requirements (5 months)

Contributions to the STAR programme objectives: -