Columbus Integrated System Level ECS Test 2002-01-2327
The Columbus laboratory module, developed by Astrium Bremen as prime contractor and Alenia Spazio as co-prime, is the European contribution to the International Space Station (ISS) program and as such it will support, once in orbit, micro-gravity and space based research activities of the member states.
Columbus Environmental Control System (ECS) employs an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) providing atmosphere pressure, cabin ventilation and temperature humidity control inside the module in conjunction with an autonomous Active Thermal Control System (ATCS) that provides the heat collection capability. The ATCS, based on software controlled water loop, provides also the cooling capability for Payloads and Subsystem equipment. The ECS is completed with the Passive Thermal Control System based on software controlled shell heating system plus passive fixtures such as Multi-Layers Insulation (MLI) blankets.
Generally, both, the Columbus ATCS as well as the ECLSS are qualified via simplified but representative tests and concluding analyses. Complete verification of the module thermal and environmental control design however, will be performed via analysis supported by ECS System Level Integrated Test as well as the predictions for flight.
With respect to responsibility sharing, Alenia is responsible for all verification by test related to thermal/environmental aspects, i.e. Alenia will define the test requirements and cases to be performed via the establishment of a dedicated test specification. On the other side, definition and production of the test set-up as well as the performance of the test is assigned to the Columbus prime Astrium SI Bremen.
In order to get confidence on the functional performance of the Columbus ECS and to validate the Integrated Overall Thermal Mathematical Model (IOTMM) on system level the module will be subjected to an Integrated System Test (IST).
Purpose of the ECS IST is to provide the first verification of the thermal/environmental interrelation between the active cooling (ATCS) and environmental control system (ECLSS) hardware and software and to collect as much characteristic thermal data as possible for the validation of the flight configuration IOTMM. This test will represent the second and last test in series on the flight configuration of the Columbus module.
Previous tests, for verification of the functional interfaces of the ATCS and ECLSS, have been performed already in the frame of the Electrical Test Model (ETM) utilization. However, this test did not provide information on environmental and thermal parameters of the system but rather on the functional interrelations of the relevant units of the subsystems. Presently, the subject test will be performed in the integration hall of Astrium SI Bremen (Class 100.000 clean room conditions) and the pressurized shell is planned to be covered by the flight multi-layer insulation only located beneath the meteoroid debris panels (MDPS) of the module. However, in order to get as much as possible characteristic data of the system not only the test cases have to be selected very carefully but also additional test supporting equipment (TSE) has to be evaluated.
The present paper summarizes the efforts generated to establish the Environmental/Thermal test in the frame of the system level IST of the Columbus module, describes the interrelation aspects of the thermal/environmental subsystem verification by test and analysis and presents the derived methodologies and expected results.