1991-07-01

Prioritizing Automation and Robotics Applications in Life Support System Design 911398

It is extremely likely that the amount of crew time available to operate, service, and maintain life support systems for advanced space missions will be limited. Using published data from the Soviet Bios experiments, this paper provides descriptions of operational, servicing, and maintenance tasks anticipated for a Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) which includes both higher plants and algal reactors. This data shows that the Bios higher plant culture system operations required about 6.2 crew-hours per day, the algal culture system operations required approximately 7.5 crew-hours per day, and miscellaneous domestic operations required about 7.5 crew-hours per day. By integrating Bios task descriptions with typical laboratory procedures, detailed descriptions of nominal operations and maintenance activities were constructed. Crew time requirements were then derived for each of the activities identified. From the estimated time requirements, an analysis was conducted to determine which activities could be best accomplished by the application of automation and/or robotics. Finally, specific, prioritized applications of automation and robotics to the design and implementation of this type of hybrid life support system are proposed.

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