A revolution in spaceflight is likely soon with the prospect of everyday access to orbit within fifteen years. Costly launch vehicles based on ballistic missiles will be replaced by 'spaceplanes', using technology that exists today. ...Contents: Past, Present, Predicted Future Spaceplane History Recent Developments Way Ahead Spaceplane Potential Spaceplane Low-Cost Potential Orbital Infrastructure The Spaceplane Space Age Time Scale Technical Feasibility Safety Maturity Market Development Cost Design Logic Breaking the Mould Benefits Conclusions
Fortunately, the similarities between spaceflight and airflight provide space planners with a valuable means of anticipating human-based issues, of leveraging from aeronautical human factors research and experience and of shortcutting what would otherwise be a long learning curve. ...This paper considers some of the areas where human factors research has made, or is making, significant impact on the conduct of airflight and where, with limited additional work, spaceflight could be brought to a similar level of understanding.
PGBA, a 0.08m2 / 27 liter spaceflight plant chamber payload employs two temperature-controlled liquid coolant loops to control the temperature and humidity of the sealed plant chamber independently. ...Cabin-air cooled thermoelectric heat pumps control the temperature of the water-alcohol coolant fluid in each loop, which is circulated by small, low-power, magnetically-coupled positive displacement gear pumps, designed to meet NASA safety requirements. Pulse-width-modulated DC current control circuits, controlled by two PI software controllers, maintain temperature and humidity accurately.
The Plant Generic BioProcessing Apparatus (PGBA), a plant growth facility developed for commercial space biotechnology research, has flown successfully on 3 spaceflight missions for 4, 10 and 16 days. The environmental control systems of this plant growth chamber (28 liter/0.075 m2) provide atmospheric, thermal, and humidity control, as well as lighting and nutrient supply.
Social stressors in long-duration spaceflight (LDSF) have serious implications for crew effectiveness and mission safety. This paper reviews potential stressors and presents habitat and organizational design considerations to reduce perceived demand from social stressors in four areas: privacy and personal space, isolation, interpersonal interactions, and cultural differences. ...Results can serve as guidelines for the design of future LDSF missions and spacecraft, and will benefit attempts to develop an accurate model of stress in the spaceflight domain.
Spaceflight plant growth chambers require an atmosphere control system to maintain adequate levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen, as well as to limit trace gas components, for optimum or reproducible scientific performance. ...Recent atmosphere control anomalies of a spaceflight plant chamber, resulting in unstable CO2 control, have been analyzed. An activated carbon filter, designed to absorb trace gas contaminants, has proven detrimental to the atmosphere control system due to its large buffer capacity for CO2.
Condensing heat exchangers are used for the thermal and humidity control within spaceflight LSS. Heat loads are transferred to a coolant loop, and humidity is removed by condensation and separation from the air flow.
This program was designed to pique the interest of high school and undergraduate students from around the world and give them a chance to design and conduct their own spaceflight experiments. The student experiments supported by the series of miniature habitats included a Japanese Medaka fish experiment; a Chinese silkworm experiment; an American Harvester ant experiment; a Carpenter bee experiment from Liechtenstein, an Australian Orb Weaver spider experiment; and a biochemical crystal growth experiment from Israel.
As space hardware continues to grow in complexity, the demands on crews expected to be able to operate and maintain this equipment continue to grow. In terms of the International Space Station, the demands on the crew have been further increased by the reduction in crew capacity from the originally planned seven members down to three. This situation has prompted the need to find new ways of training that can meet these demands. In particular, just-in-time training techniques promise to enable crew members to correctly execute procedures that they have never performed before on equipment that they are only marginally familiar with or perhaps have never even seen before. To enable crews to work with unfamiliar procedures or equipment, we believe that it is necessary to employ a highly visual approach to convey the complex spatial information that is often involved.
The Magnetic Field Apparatus (MFA) was developed specifically to test whether high gradient magnetic fields (HGMFs) can simulate gravity by providing a directional stimulus for plants grown in space. This space shuttle middeck-locker experiment was designed to imbibe dry flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) seeds on orbit, capture time-lapsed images of the emerging roots as they are exposed to HGMFs, and, at the appropriate time, chemically fix the biological material. One of the major obstacles in the development of this payload system was to determine exactly when was the ‘appropriate’ time for fixation. Ideally the emerging roots were to be fixed after they have passed the area of highest magnetic gradient (∼8mm), but before they have grown so long as to physically touch the sides of the chamber (∼12mm). Initiating the fixative delivery sub-system within this relatively narrow window of acceptability was obtained with a unique iterative control methodology.
Plant growth chambers, whether designed for Earth or space applications, should provide the basic means for supporting healthy plant growth of almost any species. These chambers typically satisfy species- and age-specific light, atmosphere composition, water and nutrient requirements. Engineering solutions to satisfy these basic requirements in different plant chambers may vary widely, and each species or each experimental protocol may need individual testing and adaptation of the supporting hardware and science protocols. This paper will summarize the design trades, tests and evaluation experiments conducted to ensure proper hardware functionality and proper hardware / lifeware compatibility for the desired experimental protocols in space.
The authors believe that during experimental flights of private spaceflight, orbital or suborbital a full pressure suit will be required to augment safety during all flight phases where in the case of cabin pressure loss, without personal protection, the loss of crew and vehicle could result. ...This paper explains the different steps being performed by the authors, who designed and built a flight hardware pressure suit that can meet the physiological and comfort requirements of the tourist suborbital industry and the early commercial private spaceflight community. The suborbital tourist and commercial spaceflight industry have unique problems confronting the pressure suit builder, such as unpressurized comfort, reasonable expense, unique sizing of the general population, decompression complications of persons not fitting a military physiology profile and equipment weight issues. ...The DL/H-1 was specifically developed to fulfill the needs for a full pressure suit for private spaceflight in case of decompression or in the need of bailout of the spacecraft. This work also details the objectives, basis for design, problems encountered by the designers, final development of the DL/H-1 full pressure suit and testing in the high altitude chamber at the School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota.
The interaction between the temperature and humidity control system, and performance limitations are shown based on experimental data using a small spaceflight plant growth chamber. Limited availability of electric power, and the chosen control system implementation constrain the obtainable temperature and humidity setpoint combinations.
This paper describes the functional and safety design features, the operational modes and the spaceflight qualification processes including science validation tests, using yeast as a model organism. ...Single Loop for Cell Culture (SLCC) consists of individual, self-contained, spaceflight cell culture systems with capabilities for automated growth initiation, feeding, sub-culturing and sampling.
Rat neonates have never been previously flown for spaceflight experimentation, and they present unique life support, science, and engineering challenges in the Spacelab microgravity environment. ...Modifications of the RAHF (with an associated comprehensive testing program, including spaceflight) are currently underway at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), in order to add to the RAHF the capability of supporting nursing dams and neonates in preparation for Neurolab.