International Space Station Bacteria Filter Element Post-flight Testing and Service Life Prediction 2003-01-2490
The International Space Station (ISS) uses high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to remove particulate matter from the cabin atmosphere. Known as Bacteria Filter Elements (BFEs), there are 13 elements deployed on board the ISS's U.S. Segment. The pre-flight service life prediction of 1 year for the BFEs is based upon performance engineering analysis of data collected during developmental testing that used a synthetic dust challenge. While this challenge is considered reasonable and conservative from a design perspective, an understanding of the actual filter loading is required to best manage the critical ISS Program resources. Thus testing was conducted on BFEs returned from the ISS to refine the service life prediction. Results from this testing and implications to ISS resource management are discussed. Recommendations for realizing significant savings to the ISS Program are presented.