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Technical Paper

Subscale Testbed for Characterizing Regenerable Adsorbents used in Air Revitalization of Spacecraft Atmospheres

2009-07-12
2009-01-2526
A sub-scale testbed for characterizing the dynamic performance of regenerable adsorbents for filtering trace contaminants (TCs) from cabin atmospheres was built and tested. Regenerable adsorbents employed in pressure-swing adsorption (PSA) systems operate in a dynamic environment, where they undergo repeated loading / regeneration cycles. Adsorbents have a given chemical specificity for non-methane TCs depending on their composition, and on the humidity and temperature at which they operate. However, their ability to filter TCs is also affected by contact time, cycle time, regeneration vacuum quality and thermal conditioning.
Technical Paper

Testbed for Determining the Filtering Capacities of COTS Adsorbents

2007-07-09
2007-01-3137
A lab-scale testbed for screening and characterizing the chemical specificity of commercial “off-the-shelf” (COTS) polymer adsorbents was built and tested. COTS polymer adsorbents are suitable candidates for future trace contaminant (TC) control technologies. Regenerable adsorbents could reduce overall TC control system mass and volume by minimizing the amounts of consumables to be resupplied and stored. However, the chemical specificity of these COTS adsorbents for non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) (e.g., methanol, ethanol, dichloromethane, acetone, etc) commonly found in spacecraft is unknown. Furthermore, the effect of humidity on their filtering capacity is not well characterized. The testbed, composed of a humidifier, an incubator, and a gas generator, delivers NMVOC gas streams to conditioned sorbent tubes.
Technical Paper

Effects of Relative Humidity on the Adsorption of Dichloromethane by Carbosieve SIII

2007-07-09
2007-01-3249
Carbosieve SIII was used to filter dichloromethane (DCM) from a simulated spacecraft gas stream. This adsorbent was tested as a possible commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) filtration solution to controlling spacecraft air quality. DCM is a halocarbon commonly used in manufacturing for cleaning and degreasing and is a typical component of equipment offgassing in spacecraft. The performance of the filter was measured in dry and humid atmospheres. A known concentration of DCM was passed through the adsorbent at a known flow rate. The adsorbent removed dichloromethane until it reached the breakthrough volume. Carbosieve SIII exposed to dry atmospheric conditions adsorbed more DCM than when exposed to humid air. Carbosieve SIII is a useful thermally regenerated adsorbent for filtering DCM from spacecraft cabin air. However, in humid environments the gas passes through the filter sooner due to co-adsorption of additional water vapor from the atmosphere.
Technical Paper

Microbial Characterization of Compacted vs. Non-Compacted Simulated Orion Crew Vehicle Food Trash Compartment Waste

2007-07-09
2007-01-3268
The effects of volume-reduction via compaction (VR-C) on microbial loads and microbially-produced noxious odors during post-treatment storage were investigated. The Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) / Orion simulated food trash compartment wastes (FTCW) consisted of 80% food trash with packaging and 20% wipes. Compaction was compared with a non-compacted control and will provide a baseline for comparison with other treatment technologies. The first study was a timecourse with post-treatment storage durations of 1, 2, 4, and 6 weeks. Key response variables were: O2 consumption and CO2 production from waste biodegradation and microbiological assays consisting of total counts and culturable counts of (a) aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, (b) aerobic and anaerobic spore-forming bacteria, (c) specific bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia, and Staphylococcus aureus counts, and (d) molds at run termination.
Technical Paper

Feed-Back Moisture Sensor Control for the Delivery of Water to Plants Cultivated in Space

2005-07-11
2005-01-2952
The development of a spaceflight-rated Porous Tube Insert Module (PTIM) nutrient delivery tray has facilitated a series of studies evaluating various aspects of water and nutrient delivery to plants as they would be cultivated in space. We report here on our first experiment using the PTIM with a software-driven feedback moisture sensor control strategy for maintaining root zone wetness level set-points. One-day-old wheat seedlings (Tritium aestivum cv Apogee; N=15) were inserted into each of three Substrate Compartments (SCs) pre-packed with 0.25–1 mm Profile™ substrate and maintained at root zone relative water content levels of 70, 80 and 90%. The SCs contained a bottom-situated porous tube around which a capillary mat was wrapped. Three Porous Tubes were planted using similar protocols (but without the substrate) and also maintained at these three moisture level set-points. Half-strength modified Hoagland’s nutrient solution was used to supply water and nutrients.
Technical Paper

Effect of Light Intensity and Temperature on Yield of Salad Crops for Space Exploration

2005-07-11
2005-01-2820
The candidate crops that have been considered by NASA for providing moderate quantities of supplemental food for crew's consumption during near term or long duration missions include minimally processed “salad” species. Lettuce (cv. Flandria), radish (cv. Cherry Bomb II) and green onion (cv. Kinka) plants were grown under cool-white fluorescent (CWF) lamps with light intensities of 8.6, 17.2, or 25.8 mol m−2 d−1, at air temperatures of 25 and 28 °C, 50% relative humidity, and 1200 µmol mol−1 CO2. Following 35 days growth, final edible mass yields were recorded. All three species grown at 25 °C showed an increase in edible fresh mass and growth rates as light intensity increased. When grown at 28 °C however, the edible fresh mass and crop growth rate of radish, lettuce and onion was significantly reduced at all light intensities when compared to yields at 25 °C. Overall, results indicated that all three crops were sensitive to changes in light intensity and temperature.
Technical Paper

Volatile Organic Compound Analysis (VOCA): A System for Evaluating Atmospheric Contaminants on Plant Growth

2005-07-11
2005-01-2771
A set of contained environment chambers have been designed to study the effects of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) on plant growth and development. The Volatile Organic Compound Analysis (VOCA) system consists of six Lexan chambers, each with independent VOC monitoring and control capacities. The VOC exposure chambers are located within a larger controlled environment chamber (CEC) which provides a common air temperature, photoperiod, and light control. Relative humidity, CO2 concentration, and VOC concentration of the atmosphere are independently controlled in each VOCA exposure chambers. CO2, air temperature, relative humidity and PPF are continuously monitored with software developed using IOControl™ and IODisplay™.
Technical Paper

Bacterial and Fungal Communities in BPS Chambers and Root Modules

2003-07-07
2003-01-2528
The PESTO (Photosynthetic Experiment System Testing and Operation) experiment flew in the Biomass Production System (BPS) to International Space Station (ISS) on STS-110 (Atlantis) April 8, 2002, and returned on STS-111 (Endeavour) June 19, 2002, after 73 days in space. The ground control was conducted on a two-week delay at Kennedy Space Center in a BPS unit under environmental conditions comparable to ISS. Wheat (Triticum aestivum cv Apogee) and Brassica rapa cv Astroplant were independently grown in root modules for multiple grow-outs. On-orbit harvests, root modules exchanges and primings, seeds imbibitions, and gas and water samplings occurred at periodic intervals; all were replicated in ground controls. Many operations required crew handling and open access to individual chambers, allowing the exchange of microorganisms between the crew environment and the BPS modules.
Technical Paper

Long-Term Storage of Wheat Plants for Light Microscopy

2000-07-10
2000-01-2231
The objectives of these experiments were two fold: 1) to determine if accepted tissue fixation procedures can be adapted for long-term storage on-board the International Space Station (ISS) and 2) to test whether they are suitable for KSC Fixation Tubes (KFTs). Three tissue fixation parameters were tested: time, temperature and sample size.Fixation time:samples are normally fixed from several minutes to several hours, but because of the duration of the UF-1 mission to ISS, the tissue will be in fixative for up to 3 months. Super dwarf wheat tissue samples were fixed in either FAA (a fixative normally used for storage of plant tissues) or a glutaraldehyde-based fixative and stored for 100 days.
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