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Journal Article

Development and Testing of a Sorbent-Based Atmosphere Revitalization System 2008/2009

2009-07-12
2009-01-2445
The design and evaluation of a Vacuum-Swing Adsorption (VSA) system to remove metabolic water and metabolic carbon dioxide from a spacecraft atmosphere is presented. The approach for Orion and Altair is a VSA system that removes not only 100 percent of the metabolic CO2 from the atmosphere, but also 100% of the metabolic water as well, a technology approach that has not been used in previous spacecraft life support systems. The design and development of an Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Sorbent Based Atmosphere Revitalization system, including test articles, a facility test stand, and full-scale testing in late 2008 and early 2009 is discussed.
Journal Article

Engineered Structured Sorbents for the Adsorption of Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor from Manned Spacecraft Atmospheres: Applications and Testing 2008/2009

2009-07-12
2009-01-2444
Developmental efforts are seeking to improve upon the efficiency and reliability of typical packed beds of sorbent pellets by using structured sorbents and alternative bed configurations. The benefits include increased structural stability gained by eliminating clay bound zeolite pellets that tend to fluidize and erode, and better thermal control during sorption leading to increased process efficiency. Test results that demonstrate such improvements are described and presented.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Ammonia Sorbents and Carbon Monoxide Oxidation Catalysts

2008-06-29
2008-01-2097
Designers of future space vehicles envision simplifying the Atmosphere Revitalization (AR) system by combining the functions of trace contaminant (TC) control and carbon dioxide removal into one swing-bed system. Flow rates and bed sizes of the TC and CO2 systems have historically been very different. There is uncertainty about the ability of trace contaminant sorbents to adsorb adequately in a high-flow or short bed length configurations, and to desorb adequately during short vacuum exposures. This paper describes preliminary results of a comparative experimental investigation into adsorbents for trace contaminant control. Ammonia sorbents and low temperature catalysts for CO oxidation are the foci. The data will be useful to designers of AR systems for Constellation. Plans for extended and repeated vacuum exposure of ammonia sorbents are also presented.
Technical Paper

Life Support Requirements and Technology Challenges for NASA's Constellation Program

2008-06-29
2008-01-2018
NASA's Constellation Program, which includes the mission objectives of establishing a permanently-manned lunar Outpost, and the exploration of Mars, poses new and unique challenges for human life support systems that will require solutions beyond the Shuttle and International Space Station state of the art systems. In particular, the requirement to support crews for extended durations at the lunar outpost with limited resource resupply capability will require closed-loop regenerative life support systems with minimal expendables. Planetary environmental conditions such as lunar dust and extreme temperatures, as well as the capability to support frequent and extended-duration Extra-vehicular Activity's (EVA's) will be particularly challenging.
Technical Paper

Guidance for Trade Studies of Flight-Equivalent Hardware

2007-07-09
2007-01-3223
Spacecraft hardware trade studies compare options primarily on mass while considering impacts to cost, risk, and schedule. Historically, other factors have been considered in these studies, such as reliability, technology readiness level (TRL), volume and crew time. In most cases, past trades compared two or more technologies across functional and TRL boundaries, which is an uneven comparison of the technologies. For example, low TRL technologies with low mass were traded directly against flight-proven hardware without consideration for requirements and the derived architecture. To provide for even comparisons of spacecraft hardware, trades need to consider functionality, mission constraints, integer vs. real number of flight hardware units, and mass growth allowances by TRL.
Technical Paper

Crew Exploration Vehicle Environmental Control and Life Support Design Reference Missions

2007-07-09
2007-01-3041
In preparation for the contract award of the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) produced two design reference missions for the vehicle. The design references used teams of engineers across the agency to come up with two configurations. This process helped NASA understand the conflicts and limitations in the CEV design, and investigate options to solve them.
Technical Paper

ISS Internal Active Thermal Control System (IATCS) Coolant Remediation Project - 2006 Update

2006-07-17
2006-01-2161
The IATCS coolant has experienced a number of anomalies in the time since the US Lab was first activated on Flight 5A in February 2001. These have included: 1) a decrease in coolant pH, 2) increases in inorganic carbon, 3) a reduction in phosphate concentration, 4) an increase in dissolved nickel and precipitation of nickel salts, and 5) increases in microbial concentration. These anomalies represent some risk to the system, have been implicated in some hardware failures and are suspect in others. The ISS program has conducted extensive investigations of the causes and effects of these anomalies and has developed a comprehensive program to remediate the coolant chemistry of the on-orbit system as well as provide a robust and compatible coolant solution for the hardware yet to be delivered.
Technical Paper

Performance Characterization of a Temperature-Swing Adsorption Compressor for Closed-Loop Air Revitalization Based on Integrated Tests with Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reduction Assemblies

2006-07-17
2006-01-2126
CO2 removal, recovery and reduction are essential processes for a closed loop air revitalization system in a crewed spacecraft. Typically, a compressor is required to recover the low pressure CO2 that is being removed from the spacecraft in a swing bed adsorption system. This paper describes integrated tests of a Temperature-Swing Adsorption Compressor (TSAC) with high-fidelity systems for carbon dioxide removal and reduction assemblies (CDRA and Sabatier reactor). It also provides details of the TSAC operation at various CO2 loadings. The TSAC is a solid-state compressor that has the capability to remove CO2 from a low-pressure source, and subsequently store, compress, and deliver it at a higher pressure. TSAC utilizes the principle of temperature-swing adsorption compression and has no rapidly moving parts.
Technical Paper

A Novel Repair Technique for the Internal Thermal Control System Dual-Membrane Gas Trap

2005-07-11
2005-01-3079
A dual-membrane gas trap is currently used to remove gas bubbles from the Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) coolant on board the International Space Station (ISS). The gas trap consists of concentric tube membrane pairs, comprised of outer hydrophilic tubes and inner hydrophobic fibers. Liquid coolant passes through the outer hydrophilic membrane, which traps the gas bubbles. The inner hydrophobic fiber allows the trapped gas bubbles to pass through and vent to the ambient atmosphere in the cabin. The gas trap was designed to last for the entire lifetime of the ISS, and therefore was not designed to be repaired. However, repair of these gas traps is now a necessity due to contamination from the on-orbit ITCS fluid and other sources on the ground as well as a limited supply of flight gas traps. This paper describes a novel repair technique that has been developed that will allow the refurbishment of contaminated gas traps and their return to flight use.
Technical Paper

Assessment of Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion Potential in the International Space Station Internal Active Thermal Control System Heat Exchanger Materials: A 6-Month Study

2005-07-11
2005-01-3077
The fluid in the Internal Active Thermal Control System (IATCS) of the International Space Station (ISS) is water based. The fluid in the ISS Laboratory Module and Node 1 initially contained a mix of water, phosphate (corrosion control), borate (pH buffer), and silver sulfate (Ag2SO4) (microbial control) at a pH of 9.5±0.5. Over time, the chemistry of the fluid changed. Fluid changes included a pH drop from 9.5 to 8.3 due to diffusion of carbon dioxide (CO2) through Teflon® (DuPont) hoses, increases in dissolved nickel (Ni) levels, deposition of silver (Ag) to metal surfaces, and precipitation of the phosphate (PO4) as nickel phosphate (NiPO4). The drop in pH and unavailability of a antimicrobial has provided an environment conducive to microbial growth. Microbial levels in the fluid have increased from <10 colony-forming units (CFUs)/100 mL to 106 CFUs/100 mL.
Technical Paper

Performance Qualification Test of the ISS Water Processor Assembly (WPA) Expendables

2005-07-11
2005-01-2837
The Water Processor Assembly (WPA) for use on the International Space Station (ISS) includes various technologies for the treatment of waste water. These technologies include filtration, ion exchange, adsorption, catalytic oxidation, and iodination. The WPA hardware implementing portions of these technologies, including the Particulate Filter, Multifiltration Bed, Ion Exchange Bed, and Microbial Check Valve, was recently qualified for chemical performance at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Waste water representing the quality of that produced on the ISS was generated by test subjects and processed by the WPA. Water quality analysis and instrumentation data was acquired throughout the test to monitor hardware performance. This paper documents operation of the test and the assessment of the hardware performance.
Technical Paper

International Space Station Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (ISS CDRA) Concepts and Advancements

2005-07-11
2005-01-2892
An important aspect of air revitalization for life support in spacecraft is the removal of carbon dioxide from cabin air. Several types of carbon dioxide removal systems are in use or have been proposed for use in spacecraft life support systems. These systems rely on various removal techniques that employ different architectures and media for scrubbing CO2, such as permeable membranes, liquid amine, adsorbents, and absorbents. Sorbent systems have been used since the first manned missions. The current state of key technology is the existing International Space Station (ISS) Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA), a system that selectively removes carbon dioxide from the cabin atmosphere. The CDRA system was launched aboard UF-2 in February 2001 and resides in the U.S. Destiny Laboratory module. During the past four years, the CDRA system has experienced operational limitations.
Technical Paper

Rotary Drum Separator and Pump for the Sabatier Carbon Dioxide Reduction System

2005-07-11
2005-01-2863
A trade study conducted in 2001 selected a rotary disk separator as the best candidate to meet the requirements for an International Space Station (ISS) Carbon Dioxide Reduction Assembly (CRA). The selected technology must provide micro-gravity gas/liquid separation and pump the liquid from 69 kPa (10 psia) at the gas/liquid interface to 124 kPa (18 psia) at the wastewater bus storage tank. The rotary disk concept, which has pedigree in other systems currently being built for installation on the ISS, failed to achieve the required pumping head within the allotted power. The separator discussed in this paper is a new design that was tested to determine compliance with performance requirements in the CRA. The drum separator and pump (DSP) design is similar to the Oxygen Generator Assembly (OGA) Rotary Separator Accumulator (RSA) in that it has a rotating assembly inside a stationary housing driven by a integral internal motor[1].
Technical Paper

Recent Operational Experience with the Internal Thermal Control System Dual-Membrane Gas Trap

2004-07-19
2004-01-2428
A dual-membrane gas trap is currently used to remove gas bubbles from the Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) coolant on board the International Space Station. The gas trap consists of concentric tube membrane pairs, comprised of outer hydrophilic tubes and inner hydrophobic fibers. Liquid coolant passes through the outer hydrophilic membrane, which traps the gas bubbles. The inner hydrophobic fiber allows the trapped gas bubbles to pass through and vent to the ambient atmosphere in the cabin. The gas removal performance and operational lifetime of the gas trap have been affected by contamination in the ITCS coolant. However, the gas trap has performed flawlessly with regard to its purpose of preventing gas bubbles from causing depriming, overspeed, and shutdown of the ITCS pump. This paper discusses on-orbit events over the course of the last year related to the performance and functioning of the gas trap.
Technical Paper

Effects of Surfactant Contamination on the Next Generation Gas Trap for the ISS Internal Thermal Control System

2004-07-19
2004-01-2429
The current dual-membrane gas trap is designed to remove gas bubbles from the Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) coolant on board the International Space Station (ISS). To date it has successfully served its purpose of preventing gas bubbles from causing depriming, overspeed, and shutdown of the ITCS pumps. However, contamination in the ITCS coolant has adversely affected the gas venting rate and lifetime of the gas trap, warranting a development effort for a next-generation gas trap. Previous testing has shown that a hydrophobic-only design is capable of performing even better than the current dual-membrane design for both steady-state gas removal and gas slug removal in clean deionized water. This paper presents results of testing to evaluate the effects of surfactant contamination on the steady-state performance of the hydrophobic-only design.
Technical Paper

Enhancing the Human Factors Engineering Role in an Austere Fiscal Environment

2003-07-07
2003-01-2538
An austere fiscal environment in the aerospace community creates pressure to reduce program costs, often minimizing or even deleting human interface requirements from the design process. With the assumption that the flight crew can recover, in real time, from a poorly human factored space vehicle design, the classical crew interface requirements have either been not included in the design or not properly funded, even though they are carried as requirements. Cost cuts have also affected the quality of retained human factors engineering personnel. Planning is ongoing to correct these issues. Herein are techniques for ensuring that human interface requirements are integrated with flight design from proposal through verification and launch activation.
Technical Paper

Development of the Next Generation Gas Trap for the Space Station Internal Thermal Control System

2003-07-07
2003-01-2566
The current dual-membrane gas trap is designed to remove non-condensed gases (NCG) from the Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) coolant on board the International Space Station (ISS). To date it has successfully served its purpose of preventing depriming, overspeed, and shutdown of the ITCS pump. However, contamination in the ITCS coolant has adversely affected the gas venting rate and lifetime of the gas trap, warranting a development effort for a next-generation gas trap. Design goals are to meet or exceed the current requirements to (1) include greater operating ranges and conditions, (2) eliminate reliance on the current hydrophilic tube fabrication process, and (3) increase operational life and tolerance to particulate and microbial growth fouling.
Technical Paper

Operational Experience with the Internal Thermal Control System Dual-Membrane Gas Trap

2003-07-07
2003-01-2565
A dual-membrane gas trap is currently used to remove non-condensed gases (NCG) from the Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) coolant on board the International Space Station. The gas trap consists of concentric tube membrane pairs, comprised of outer hydrophilic tubes and inner hydrophobic fibers. Liquid coolant passes through the outer hydrophilic membrane, which traps the NCG. The inner hydrophobic fiber allows the trapped NCG to pass through and vent to the ambient atmosphere in the cabin. The purpose of the gas trap is to prevent gas bubbles from causing depriming, overspeed, and shutdown of the ITCS pump, and the current gas trap has performed flawlessly in this regard. However, because of actual operational conditions on-orbit, its gas removal performance and operational lifetime have been affected.
Technical Paper

Development of a Direct Drive Hall Effect Thruster System

2002-10-29
2002-01-3212
A three-year program to develop a Direct Drive Hall Effect Thruster (D2HET) system began 15 months ago as part of the NASA Advanced Cross-Enterprise Technology Development initiative. The system is expected to reduce significantly the power processing, complexity, weight, and cost over conventional low-voltage systems. The D2HET will employ solar arrays that operate at voltages greater than 300V, and will be an enabling technology for affordable planetary exploration. It will also be a stepping-stone in the production of the next generation of power systems for Earth orbiting satellites. This paper provides a general overview of the program and reports the first year's findings from both theoretical and experimental components of the program.
Technical Paper

The Interaction of Spacecraft Cabin Atmospheric Quality and Water Processing System Performance

2002-07-15
2002-01-2300
Although designed to remove organic contaminants from a variety of wastewater streams, the planned U.S. and present Russian-provided water processing systems on board the International Space Station (ISS) have capacity limits for some of the more common volatile cleaning solvents used for housekeeping purposes. Using large quantities of volatile cleaning solvents during the ground processing and in-flight operational phases of a crewed spacecraft such as the ISS can lead to significant challenges to the water processing systems. To understand the challenges facing the management of water processing capacity, the relationship between cabin atmospheric quality and humidity condensate loading is presented. This relationship is developed as a tool to determine the cabin atmospheric loading that may compromise water processing system performance.
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