P18351: Sandia Passive Vacuum Detection Team A

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

Project Summary

Team N.A.M.A.S.Te has been charged with developing a passive vacuum detection switch for Sandia National Laboratories. This switch will fulfill a crucial role in the activation system of a missile upon experiencing near-space vacuum conditions on path toward an asteroid. Current vacuum detection switches used for such purposes tend to employ electronic activation systems that may be more vulnerable to hacking or the intense conditions of Earth’s upper atmosphere. Therefore, the switch must function entirely mechanically to close only a basic electrical channel.

The end deliverable for team N.A.M.A.S.Te is a functional passive vacuum detection switch meeting all customer requirements listed within the problem definition node. The switch must be highly reliable and will likely be the first of its kind used for the activation of a missile. At the end of MSD, the switch will be tested on a sounding (research) rocket to verify its capability.

The project readiness package and project "bonanza" document contain the initial information received regarding this project.

Use Cases


Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Customer Requirements (Needs)


  1. Link to the live document here

Outputs and Destination

A completed form matching the supplied template to be used as input to define the Engineering Requirements.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

Engineering Requirements (Preliminary)

Engineering Requirements (Preliminary)

  1. Link to the live document here


  1. Testing in such a small value of vacuum
  2. Testing Launch Conditions
  3. Relying solely on mechanics to drive switch
  4. Developing a form of water resistance
  5. Limited weight and footprint

The overall scale of this project in comparison to its purpose drives many of the constraints that our team foresees. In regards to the design of this switch, part of the challenge will be relying solely on mechanics to drive the switch. Due to the varying environments and importance of the success of the switch actuation, a consistent, mechanical switch is required. All our constraints can be measured or delivered based upon a customer requirement.

House of Quality

A house of quality is used to ensure that all customer requirements are being met with a corresponding set of engineering requirements.

House of Quality (Preliminary)

House of Quality (Preliminary)

Inputs and Source

  1. Customer Requirements.
  2. Engineering Requirements.

Outputs and Destination

Provide input to the risk management process.

Design Review Materials

Plans for next phase

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