Development of a Rapid Cycling CO
O Removal Sorbent
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) planned future missions set stringent demands on the design of the Portable Life Support System (PLSS), requiring dramatic reductions in weight, decreased reliance on supplies and greater flexibility for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) duration and objectives. Use of regenerable systems that reduce weight and volume of the space suit life support system is of critical importance to NASA, both for low orbit operations and for long duration manned missions. The carbon dioxide and humidity control unit in the existing PLSS design is relatively large, since it has to remove and store eight hours worth of carbon dioxide (CO2). If the sorbent regeneration can be carried out during the EVA with a relatively high regeneration frequency, the size of the sorbent canister and weight can be significantly reduced.
TDA Research, Inc. is developing compact, regenerable sorbent materials to control CO2 and humidity in the space suit ventilation loop. The sorbent can be regenerated using space vacuum during the EVA, eliminating all CO2 and humidity duration-limiting elements in the life support system. The material also has applications in other areas of space exploration including long duration missions requiring regenerable technologies and possibly the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) spacecraft. This paper summarizes the results of the sorbent development, testing, and evaluation efforts to date.