Columbus Integrated System Level ECS Test - Preparation, Conduction and Summary 2003-01-2514
The Columbus laboratory module, implements an autonomous active thermal control system (ATCS) and a heater controlled external passive thermal control system (PTCS). For cabin air temperature and humidity control it employs an Environmental Control and Life Support system (ECLSS) providing additionally atmosphere pressure and cabin ventilation control inside the module.
The entire Columbus thermal control system as well as the environmental control and life support system are qualified via simplified but representative tests and concluding analyses. In order to get confidence on the functional performance of the Columbus Environmental Control System (ECS) and to validate the Integrated Overall Thermal Mathematical Model (IOTMM) on system level, the module will be subjected further to an Integrated System Test (IST). The actual intention of the test is to generate thermal data which will be used for TMM correlation.
In the course of the integrated system test activities an environmental test has been performed to collect as much thermal data as possible for the validation of the flight configuration IOTMM. This test represents the second and last test in series on the flight configuration of the Columbus module. It has also the intention to provide the first verification of the thermal/environmental interrelation between the active cooling (ATCS) and the environmental control system (ECLS) hardware and software.
The subject test was performed in the integration hall of Astrium GmbH Bremen facility (Class 100.000 clean room conditions). Test configuration of the module was as flight representative as feasible, e.g. the pressurized shell was covered by the flight MLI located beneath the meteoroid and debris panels (MDPS). In order to get as much characteristic test data as possible not only the test cases had to be selected very carefully but also additional test supporting equipment (TSE) had to be employed.
For the purpose of thermal data collection the thermal test implemented as well steady state as transient test cases. The steady state test cases will allow the evaluation of typical conductors while the transient test cases shall prove the dynamic behavior and stability of control systems involved.
Workaround solutions were to be evaluated in cases where flight representative operation of the TCS and ECLS systems could not be simulated.
Thermal data collection is done via flight and test relevant temperature, pressure and flow sensors. Collection and evaluation of the test data were to be optimized in order to facilitate the follow on correlation and IOTMM update effort.
Due to still partly missing flight hardware at the time of test execution, e.g.: Condensing Heat Exchanger FM, substitutes have been included and test cases modified accordingly. However, the principles of the test, i.e. thermal data collection and general functional verification of the Columbus TCS and ECLSS systems were always respected.
The present paper gives an overview on the test preparation resp. conduction and summarizes the test results. Additionally, an outlook on the IOTMM correlation, to be performed based on the data collected, will be given.