Tendon Tension Monitoring System (TTMS), a new fiber-optic monitoring system, developed by NASA jointly with Astro Technology (ATI), has enhanced safety of workers and decreased the risk of spills on two oil platforms off the coast of West Africa.

The TTMS, which has been developed through a Space Act Agreement, can detect slight changes in tension as a result of tides, wave activity, storms and routine boat docking operations.

Installed in March on the two platforms in Atlantic Ocean, the TTMS uses a fiber-optic strain gauge system and a series of sensor clamps to determine the tension on subsea risers and pipelines.

According to NASA, the system can sense any stresses along the platform’s four legs and streams the data in real time, allowing operators to make alterations to maintain the stability of the platform.

ATI and NASA engineers worked jointly at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to design an underwater adhesive-style clamp prototype for the research.

The team tested the system using resources and experience of building and testing human-rated spacecraft in tough operating environments.