1994-06-01

Microbial Contamination Control and Prevention During Space H/W Manufacturing and Assembly 941310

Microorganism accumulation and growth onboard a spacecraft may impact adversely on crew efficiency and safety as well as system, subsystems and payload.
The results of test campaigns performed at Alenia Spazio in Summer 1993 are reported here. From them, some simple and effective prevention methods to be applied during the manufacturing and integration phases of a pressurised spacecraft have been identified and are here discussed.
Although data obtained from Earth experience may be considered useful, it is uncertain and unfit for space station operational lifespan. Therefore, it is necessary to build a model of the phenomenon, able to provide a series of quantitative data as a function of different parameters related to environmental characteristics, crew, and on-board activities. An experiment on board the MIR orbital station - in the frame of EUROMIR'95 mission - may validate the prediction model of the microbial contamination phenomena, providing input for any spacecraft design, manufacturing, and onboard environmental control systems. Such an experiment is briefly described.

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