Space Suit Radiator Performance in Lunar and Mars Environments 2007-01-3275
During an ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA), both the heat generated by the astronaut's metabolism and that produced by the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) must be rejected to space. The heat sources include the heat of adsorption of metabolic CO2, the heat of condensation of water, the heat removed from the body by the liquid cooling garment and the load from the electrical components. Although the sublimator hardware to reject this load weighs only 1.58 kg (3.48 lbm), an additional 3.6 kg (8 lbm) of water are loaded into the unit, most of which is sublimated and lost to space, thus becoming the single largest expendable during an eight-hour EVA. Using a radiator to reject heat from the astronaut during an EVA can reduce the amount of expendable water consumed in the sublimator.
Last year we reported on the design and initial operational assessment tests of a novel radiator designated the Radiator And Freeze Tolerant heat eXchanger (RAFT-X). Herein, we report on tests conducted in the NASA Johnson Space Center Chamber E Thermal Vacuum Test Facility. Up to 250 W (855 Btu/h) of heat were rejected in simulated Lunar and Mars environments with temperatures as cold as −170°C (−275°F). Further, the RAFT-X endured several freeze / thaw cycles and in fact, the heat exchanger was completely frozen three times without any apparent damage to the unit.