TransHab Radiation Shield Water Tank: A Solar Storm Shelter for Personnel on ISS or a Mars Interplanetary Mission 1999-01-1936
As part of NASA’s TransHab inflatable habitat program, a Radiation Shield Water Tank (RSWT) is being developed to provide a safe haven from peak solar particle events. The RSWT will provide an 11 ft. (3.35 m) diameter by 7 ft. (2.13 m) tall “safe haven” with a 2.26 in. (0.0574 m) thick wall of water for astronaut residence during peak solar events. The RSWT also functions as a water processing storage tank and must be capable of being filled and drained at will.
Because of the unique shape of the RSWT, standard bellows and bladder designs cannot be used for inventory control. Therefore NASA has developed a bladderless tank where capillary forces govern the positioning of the liquid inventory. A combination of hydrophobic and hydrophilic membranes and wetting surfaces allows the tank to be filled and emptied as desired.
In the present work, background on space-borne radiation is presented, the bladderless RSWT concept is described, and its theory of operation is discussed. In addition, the pre-prototype RSWT microgravity test performed onboard NASA JSC’s KC-135 microgravity test-bed is detailed and the results of this test are presented.