top of page

CTRL UL101 Critical to NASA Missions

For many years, NASA was aware of and investigating, the potential use of ultrasound condition based monitoring technology. There were several investigations of available products, as well as a unit developed by NASA itself. However, once introduced to the CTRL UL101, a review panel that included astronauts were impressed with the UL101's sensitivity, size, and ease of operation. CTRL Systems, Inc. designed and built a "space hardened" UL101 for NASA within 30 days of the first meeting. The new UL101 was vigorously tested by NASA for spaceflight durability, safety, and performance and passed all of the tests on the first trial, something that a majority of products fail to achieve. 

The UL101 was put on the flight manifest, and the first kit was delivered to the Space Station on July 12, 2001, just 6 months after CTRL System's first meeting with NASA. 

The first UL101 was delivered to NASA in 2001 to test and verify that there were no leaks during an installation of an airlock. Since then, the UL101 has been used for leak detection and general diagnostics. This picture shows astronauts using the UL101 to develop a Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) inspection program for reinforced carbon-carbon composite components (RCC). Learn more about RCC on NASA’s page.

UL101 used by astronauts on International Space Station during experiment

UL101 used by astronauts on International Space Station during experiment


Due to the success of the UL101 Kits on the Space Station, NASA decided to put a UL101 Kit on each Space Shuttle for flight safety and readiness. The $50,000 per payload justification of added weight demonstrated NASA's dedication to the technology as critical to the missions' successes.


The UL101 has been used to locate leaks and confirm repairs since 2001. This video demonstrates the UL101 being used on a vacuum leak in January 2004, when a 0.04 psi leak – about 0.25% was recorded during Expedition 8. Finding this leak "couldn't have come at a better time," stated NASA. The crew would have been confined for 5 days in the Russian living quarters, stopping all mission experiments.


CTRL Systems, Inc. has been supplying its ultrasound technology to the US government, defense, and its allies for more than 20 years. As a result of CTRL's dedication to turnkey integration, the UL101 is a standard tool in many mission critical applications on platforms such as F-35, C-130, and F-18.

See Complete List of Platforms Relying On UL101.

Download Reference Letter from NASA

bottom of page