An Environmental Impact Assessment of Perfluorocarbon Thermal Working Fluid Use on Board Crewed Spacecraft 2006-01-2218
The design and operation of crewed spacecraft requires identifying and evaluating chemical compounds that may present reactivity and compatibility risks with the environmental control and life support (ECLS) system. Such risks must be understood so that appropriate design and operational controls, including specifying containment levels, can be instituted or an appropriate substitute material selected. Operational experience acquired during the International Space Station (ISS) program has found that understanding ECLS system and environmental impact presented by thermal control system working fluids is imperative to safely operating any crewed space exploration vehicle. Perfluorocarbon fluids are used as working fluids in thermal control fluid loops on board the ISS. Also, payload hardware developers have identified perfluorocarbon fluids as preferred thermal control working fluids. Interest in using perfluorocarbon fluids as thermal control system working fluids for future crewed space vehicles and outposts is high. Potential hazards associated with perfluorocarbon fluids are discussed with specific attention given to engineering assessment of ECLS system compatibility, compatibility testing results, and spacecraft environmental impact. Considerations for perfluorocarbon fluid use on crewed spacecraft and outposts are summarized.