An Orbiter Upgrade Demonstration Test Article for a Fail-Safe Regenerative CO, Removal System 981536

The current regenerative CO, Removal System (RCRS) is a two sorbent bed, vacuum pressure swing, CO, adsorption/desorption system. While one bed is removing CO, and moisture from cabin air, the other bed is vented to space vacuum so that the CO, and water can be desorbed off the bed. To guard against the possibility that cabin air can be vented directly to space, 11 valves and a series of mechanical linkages control the flow paths. The RCRS has one set of adsorption beds, one fan, one compressor, and two redundant controllers. A single failure could cause a loss of function; so a contingency CO, removal system must, and is flown.
A new sorbent material has been developed that greatly decreases the required size of the sorbent bed. A new valve design is proposed that replaces the complex series of valves and linkages with one moving part. Using the new bed material and new valve design, system size and weight can be cut approximately in half. Two entirely independent, CO, removal systems can now be made to fit within the present RCRS envelope, providing built-in contingency CO, removal.
This paper describes the results of an effort underway, as part of NASA's Orbiter Upgrade Program to design, build, and test a prototype spool valve, and to design, build, and test a prototype CO, adsorption bed filled with new sorbent material. The successful demonstration of the bed and valve will address the key technical risks to successful flight implementation.


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