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Wyle Selects Sionex microAnalyzer for Space Station

February 11, 2009

Using differential mobility spectroscopy, the device will serve as a candidate trace-chemical detection engine to improve cabin air quality monitoring.


BEDFORD, MA -- Sionex Corp., a leading producer of chemical and biological sensors and sub-systems, announced that Wyle Laboratories has selected Sionex's microAnalyzer as a candidate trace-chemical detection engine to improve cabin air quality monitoring in the International Space Station. The microAnalyzer, using differential mobility spectrometry, may replace the previous-generation volatile organic analyzer (VOA), based on ion mobility spectrometry technology. The space station implementation, currently scheduled for the first quarter of 2009, is under the Environmental Health System portion of Wyle's Bioastronuatics contract with NASA, which provides the technologies to properly assess the air-quality in NASA's manned missions.

"The VOA's 15-year-old design is incompatible with NASA's Exploration Vision," said Dr. Thomas Limero, Wyle's Toxicology section supervisor. "The new unit must be small and robust enough to meet tight launch load restrictions and to permit multiple units on orbit to enhance reliability and eliminate the need for repair. Further, the system must be simplified by reducing part count and reliance on re-supply and spacecraft resources. Finally, the analysis time must be shortened from hours to minutes so that data are quickly available and resources are conserved if an air quality event occurs. The advanced differential mobility spectrometry in Sionex's microAnalyzer makes it possible to achieve these goals without sacrificing performance."

"The selection of Sionex's microAnalyzer technology for the NASA project confirms that our trace chemical sensor offers unique sensitivity and selectivity in those high-risk situations where detection at parts per billion, in a complex matrix, is essential," said Wes Davis, CEO of Sionex. "That's true in protecting lives with the microAnalyzer, as well as in other systems aimed at safeguarding the environment, diagnosing diseases and monitoring manufacturing processes."

Sionex and Wyle have finalized application scripts and space hardening of the Sionex microAnalyzer for a space flight scheduled in early 2009. The microAnalyzer will be installed on the International Space Station, where it will undergo extensive field testing.

About Sionex
Sionex Corp. provides breakthrough chemical and biological sensor chips and subsystems based on its proprietary microDMx detection technology. Sionex maintains its worldwide headquarters and laboratories in Bedford, MA. The company is privately held and was founded in 2001, with patented technology exclusively licensed from the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.

About Wyle
As one of the nation's leading providers of specialized engineering, scientific, and technical services to the Department of Defense, NASA, and a variety of commercial customers, Wyle Laboratories serves its customers in the areas of test and evaluation; systems engineering and information technology; life cycle and acquisition program management; life sciences research; space medical operations and engineering; and qualification testing for natural and induced environments.

The company is headquartered in El Segundo, CA, and employs approximately 4000 employees at more than 40 facilities nationwide. Wyle comprises four operating entities: the Aerospace Group, Information Systems Group, and Integrated Science and Engineering Group.


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