Browse Publications Technical Papers 2007-01-3219
2007-07-09

Cabin Air Quality on Board Mir and the International Space Station - A Comparison 2007-01-3219

The maintenance of the cabin atmosphere aboard spacecraft is critical not only to its habitability but also to its function. Ideally, air quality can be maintained by striking a proper balance between the generation and removal of contaminants. Both very dynamic processes, the balance between generation and removal can be difficult to maintain and control because the state of the cabin atmosphere is in constant evolution responding to different perturbations. Typically, maintaining a clean cabin environment on board crewed spacecraft and space habitats is a central function of the environmental control and life support (ECLS) system. While active air quality control equipment is deployed on board every vehicle to remove carbon dioxide, water vapor, and trace chemical components from the cabin atmosphere, perturbations associated with logistics, vehicle construction and maintenance, and ECLS system configuration influence the resulting cabin atmospheric quality. The air-quality data obtained from the International Space Station (ISS) and NASA-Mir programs provides a wealth of information regarding the maintenance of the cabin atmosphere aboard long-lived space habitats. A comparison of the composition of the trace chemical contaminant load is presented. Correlations between ground-based and in-flight operations that influence cabin atmospheric quality are identified and discussed, and observations on cabin atmospheric quality during the NASA-Mir expeditions and the International Space Station are explored.

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