Development of a Rotary Separator Accumulator for Use on the International Space Station 2002-01-2360
A Rotary Separator/Accumulator (RSA) has been developed to function as a phase separator and accumulator in the Oxygen Generator Assembly (OGA) in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station. The RSA design utilizes a fixed housing with rotating disks to create a centrifugal force field to separate hydrogen gas from water. The volume within the assembly is utilized to act as an accumulator for the OGA. During the development of the RSA, design refinements were made to meet the changing system operating requirements. Two proof of concept (POC) units and a “flight-like” development unit were fabricated and tested as system requirements evolved. Testing of the first POC unit demonstrated that a combined rotary separator and accumulator was feasible and showed areas where improvements could be made. The second POC unit incorporated a fifty percent volume increase to accommodate changing system requirements and geometry changes to help reduce power consumption. Based on the positive test results of the second POC unit a “flight-like” unit was fabricated and tested. The results of “flight-like” development testing have been mapped and show that the unit will meet the operating requirements for the OGA. This paper will present the evolution of the design and a detailed discussion of the challenges that were encountered during the development.