International Space Station (ISS) Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) On-Orbit Performance 2004-01-2546
The Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) is an essential part of the International Space Station (ISS) environmental control and life support system. The analyzer provides continuous readout of the partial pressures of six gases, nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and water vapor (H2O) in the various ISS U.S. on-orbit modules. Continuous readout of the partial pressures of these gases is critical to verifying safe operation of the Atmosphere Revitalization (AR) system, Atmosphere Control System (ACS), and crew safety for Airlock Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). The MCA encountered some operational interruptions since being launched to orbit on Flight 5A in February 2001. Electronic, software, and hardware modifications and on-orbit crew maintenance of the MCA were necessary to restore its capability.
This paper describes the modifications and the on-orbit maintenance performed to return the MCA to operational status, including brief explanations of the MCA failures and the associated hardware and electronic modifications. Operational procedures that were required to return the MCA to operational status, and the more recent successes of supporting both Russian and U.S. ISS EVA preparations, are also discussed.