Compressor Development for Space-Based Hyperbaric Chambers 2002-01-2369
This paper describes new advances in compressor technology for space-based human health maintenance and countermeasure systems. Specifically, NASA is developing an on-board hyperbaric chamber to treat decompression sickness in crewmembers during long-term space missions. Presently, they do not have pressurization, oxygen delivery, or environmental control subsystems that will operate in zero gravity. Commercial, earth-based compressors typically require gravity-circulated lubrication oil for bearings. An innovative, lubrication-free compressor was designed for space-based hyperbaric chamber pressurization and oxygen delivery subsystems. Compressor components were fabricated and the potential of the new compressor was experimentally validated. The compressor, including power and control equipment weighs 80% less than, occupies 84% less space than, and uses 43% less power than state-of-the-art, commercial, terrestrial systems. Oil-less compressor design for a separate active environmental control subsystem is also discussed.