Browse Publications Technical Papers 2004-01-2541
2004-07-19

Spacecraft Cabin Atmospheric Major Constituent Monitoring Using Off-the-Shelf Techniques 2004-01-2541

Since the beginning of the crewed space exploration program, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recognized the need to monitor the composition of a spacecraft cabin atmosphere. Typically, major constituent monitoring has been limited to nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. For the International Space Station, mass spectroscopy was selected as the baseline technology for this task.
Recently, new techniques for monitoring major atmospheric constituents have matured commercially making them viable for crewed spacecraft applications. These techniques have advantages over the mass spectroscopy and electrochemically-based instruments used on board the ISS and Shuttle. Fast laser diode oxygen analysis, solid-state infrared carbon dioxide detection, and thin-film capacitive humidity detection are among the emerging techniques. Representative instruments employing these techniques have been selected and tested to demonstrate their potential for crewed spacecraft applications. A summary of testing results is provided.

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