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NASA selects Stat-X Fire Suppression System for its giant crawler transporters

Published on 8 June 2009

Statx, the fire suppression system from Fireaway LLC, has been chosen by NASA for use in its giant twin crawler transporters
Fireaway's fire suppression system Statx has been chosen by NASA for use in its giant twin crawler transporters
Aerosol firefighting system is clean, compact, cost-effective, safe and simple

When NASA Kennedy Space Center's fire safety experts decided to replace the fire suppression system in the giant twin crawler transporters, they turned to the next generation firefighting system for enclosed spaces - a clean, compact, cost effective, safe and simple system called Stat-X. Designed and manufactured by Fireaway LLC, a Minnesota-based company that specializes in suppressing fires with condensed aerosol technology, Stat-X kills fires quickly without harming the environment.

NASA has ordered Stat-X generators for three areas in both its crawlers. Over the next month, approximately 100 fire suppression units will be installed in the control areas, machine rooms and communications rooms of the crawlers which were built in 1966 and still carry space shuttles to the Kennedy launch pads for liftoff.

"NASA's crawler transporters are two of the world's largest moving machines. They are complex environments with a great deal of equipment packed into tight spaces, which makes the piping for gaseous fire suppression systems very cumbersome and expensive," said James Lavin, chief executive officer of Fireaway. "Stat-X fire suppression systems were invented to address these types of challenges."

Marc Gross, president and chief operating officer of Fireaway, explained that canisters containing Stat-X, Fireaway's aerosol agent in solid form, are installed in the enclosed spaces. "If fire breaks out, the aerosol forming compound is activated, creating a micron-sized aerosol that suppresses the fire within seconds. This system is simple and doesn't require pressure vessels, piping, or nozzles - minimizing space and maintenance requirements," Gross said. "It is ideal for confined spaces such as cellular sites, IT server rooms, machinery spaces, engine compartments, machining centers and similar applications."

NASA's decision to install the Stat-X systems in its crawlers was based on several key factors, according to Frank Lindsey, vice president of Kellers, Inc., fire protection specialists of Wilmington, NC, and distributor of Stat-X. "Stat-X is the only aerosol fire suppression system approved by the Underwriters Laboratories in the United States. Testing shows it to be the most efficient system at extinguishing fires in enclosed spaces. It's economically very viable, since its purchase price is much lower than other fire suppression methods. In addition, Stat-X is virtually maintenance free, unlike gaseous systems, which require semi-annual inspections to ensure there are no leaks and that piping is clear," he said.

Lindsey noted that the Stat-X installations in the NASA crawlers will tie to two different types of smoke detection systems - aspirating systems and triple IR infrared sensing flame systems. "Stat-X is compatible with all of the standard smoke detection systems," he said.

Stat-X is the only U.S. manufactured condensed aerosol and is based on a technology developed and refined by Fireaway to assure high quality, efficiency and safety. The Stat-X agent is environmentally friendly, having no global warming or ozone depletion potential. It is safe for both personnel and equipment.

Fireaway is an ISO 9001:2000 manufacturer and is the only company to be awarded the UL certification for condensed aerosol fire suppression systems as provided in its Stat-X generators. The initial UL listing covers the 30 to 1000 gram electrical generators, with remaining Stat-X products, ranging up to 2500 grams, currently completing rigorous UL testing.

Stat-X aerosol generators are self-contained extinguishing units. The generators act as their own storage, production and delivery devices, with a highly stable solid charge of aerosol-forming material contained inside stainless steel canisters. Upon activation, a controlled burn begins inside the canister, producing an ultra-fine aerosol which exits through discharge ports in the canister. Chemical interaction with the flame's free radicals provides rapid fire suppression.

Tests on Class B fires (those involving flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene and oil) have shown Stat-X to be more than ten times more effective than other currently available extinguishing agents, reducing weight and space requirements for the units. 

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