A Characterization of Accelerations Induced on the Free Floating Testbed During Parabolic Flight 951473

The goal of the Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) Program at NASA Ames Research Center is to develop life support systems that will support humans during long duration space missions. These life support systems must be able to regenerate air and water for the crew while at the same time minimize power consumption and disposables. A series of microgravity compatible subsystems will be required to meet this goal. However, operating these subsystems in microgravity raises serious technical problems. Existing subsystems may need to be refined or new technologies may need to be developed to overcome these problems. To evaluate and test these new subsystems and technologies, a series of KC-135 precursor flights are being flown by members of the CELSS Flight Group. One of the key elements in these flight activities is the free floating testbed (FFTB). The FFTB is a general purpose free floating platform that allows experiments to be floated inside the cabin of the aircraft during parabolic flight. By floating experiments, rather than mounting them to the aircraft, a much lower level of accelerations can be achieved. Minimal levels of acceleration will be required for the sensitive fluid experiments being conducted. This paper will outline the basic design for the free floating testbed and the accelerometer system and discuss in detail the data acquisition system. Data collected by the accelerometer system during KC-135 flights, both fixed to the aircraft and free floating, will be analyzed and a characterization of the low frequency acceleration environment will be given.


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