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Technical Paper

On-Orbit Performance of the TES Loop Heat Pipe Heat Rejection System

Launched on NASA's Aura spacecraft on July 15, 2004, JPL's Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) has been operating successfully for over three years in space. TES is an infrared high resolution, imaging fourier transform spectrometer with spectral coverage of 3.3 to 15.4 μm to measure and profile essentially all infrared-active molecules present in the Earth's lower atmosphere. It measures the three-dimensional distribution of ozone and its precursors in the lower atmosphere on a global scale. The Aura spacecraft was successfully placed in a sun-synchronous near-circular polar orbit with a mean altitude of 705 km and 98.9 minute orbit period. The observatory is designed for a nominal 5 year mission lifetime. The instrument thermal design features include four temperature zones needed for efficient cryogenic staging to provide cooling at 65 K, 180 K, 230 K and 300 K.
Technical Paper

Implications of the VBNC State of B. cepacia and S. maltophilia on Bioreduction and Microbial Monitoring of ISS Potable Waters

Certain Eubacteria enter a viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state upon encountering unfavorable environmental conditions. VBNC cells do not divide on conventional media yet remain viable and in some cases retain virulence. Here, we describe the VBNC state of two opportunistic pathogens previously isolated from ISS potable waters, Burkholderia cepacia and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Artificially inoculated microcosms were exposed to the biocidal agents copper (CuSO4) and iodine (I2) in an attempt to induce nonculturablility. Viability was assessed via fluorescent microscopy (direct viable count assay coupled with BacLight™ staining) and metabolic activity was monitored by quantifying both intracellular ATP and transcribed rRNA (reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR). Culturablility was lost in both B. cepacia and S. maltophilia within two days of exposure to copper or high concentrations of iodine (6 or 8 ppm).
Technical Paper

Thermal Performance Evaluation of a Small Loop Heat Pipe for Space Applications

A Small Loop Heat Pipe (SLHP) featuring a wick of only 1.27 cm (0.5 inches) in diameter has been designed for use in spacecraft thermal control. It has several features to accommodate a wide range of environmental conditions in both operating and non-operating states. These include flexible transport lines to facilitate hardware integration, a radiator capable of sustaining over 100 freeze-thaw cycles using ammonia as a working fluid and a structural integrity to sustain acceleration loads up to 30 g. The small LHP has a maximum heat transport capacity of 120 Watts with thermal conductance ranging from 17 to 21 W/°C. The design incorporates heaters on the compensation chamber to modulate the heat transport from full-on to full-stop conditions. A set of start up heaters are attached to the evaporator body using a specially designed fin to assist the LHP in starting up when it is connected to a large thermal mass.
Technical Paper

Design and Flight Qualification of a Paraffin-Actuated Heat Switch for Mars Surface Applications

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) flight system uses mechanical, paraffin-actuated heat switches as part of its secondary battery thermal control system. This paper describes the design, flight qualification, and performance of the heat switch. Although based on previous designs by Starsys Research Corporation1,2, the MER mission requirements have necessitated new design features and an extensive qualification program. The design utilizes the work created by the expansion of a paraffin wax by bringing into contact two aluminum surfaces, thereby forming a heat conduction path. As the paraffin freezes and contracts, compression springs separate the surfaces to remove the conduction path. The flight qualification program involved extensive thermal performance, structural, and life testing.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Transient Temperature Oscillations of a Propylene Loop Heat Pipe

A technology demonstration propylene Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) has been tested extensively in support of the implementation of this two-phase thermal control technology on NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument. This cryogenic instrument is being developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA. This paper reports on the transient characterization testing results showing low frequency temperature oscillations. Steady state performance and model correlation results can be found elsewhere. Results for transient startup and shutdown are also reported elsewhere. In space applications, when LHPs are used for thermal control, the power dissipation components are typically of large mass and may operate over a wide range of power dissipations; there is a concern that the LHP evaporator may see temperature oscillations at low powers and over some temperature range.
Technical Paper

Fabrication of laterally coupled InGaAsSb-GaSb-AlGaAsSb DFB laser structures

The development of tunable diode laser systems in the 2 - 5 μm spectral region will have numerous applications for trace gas detection. To date, the development of such systems has been hampered by the difficulties of epitaxial growth, and device processing in the case of the Sb-based materials system. One of the compounding factors in this materials system is the use of aluminum containing compounds in the laser diode cladding layers. This makes the regrowth steps used in traditional lasers very difficult. As an alternative approach we are developing laterally coupled antimonide based lasers structures that do not require the regrowth steps. In this paper, the materials growth, device processing and development of the necessary drive electronics for an antimony based tunable diode laser system are discussed.
Technical Paper

Self-Sterilizing Properties of Martian Soil: Possible Nature & Implications

As a result of the Viking missions in 1970s, the presence of a strong oxidant in Martian soil was suggested. Here we present a testable, by near-term missions, hypothesis that iron(VI) contributes to that oxidizing pool. Ferrate(VI) salts were studied for their spectral and oxidative properties and biological activities. Ferrate(VI) has distinctive spectroscopic features making it available for detection by remote sensing reflectance spectra and contact measurements via Mössbauer spectroscopy. The relevant miniaturized instrumentation has been developed or is underway, while XANES spectroscopy is shown to be a method of choice for the returned samples. Ferrate(VI) is capable of splitting water to yield oxygen, and oxidizing organic carbon to CO2. Organic oxidation was strongly abated after pre-heating ferrate, similar to the observations with Mars soil samples.
Technical Paper

Lifetimes of AMTEC Electrodes: Rhodium-Tungsten and Titanium Nitride

The lifetime of an AMTEC electrode is predicted from the rate of grain growth in the electrode. The rate of growth depends on several physical characteristics of each material, including the rate of diffusion of the material on itself. Grain growth rates for rhodium-tungsten and titanium nitride electrodes have been determined, and have been used to predict operating lifetimes of AMTEC electrodes. For lifetimes of 10 years or more, RhxW electrodes may be used at any operating temperature supportable by the electrolyte. TiN electrodes may be used in AMTEC cells only at operating temperatures under 1150 K.
Technical Paper

Model for Grain Growth in AMTEC Electrodes

The power produced by an AMTEC is dependent on the porosity of the electrode layers deposited on the surface of the BASE tubes. The elevated temperatures at which these power generators operate result in a slow growth or coalescence of the grains that comprise the electrode layers thereby reducing porosity and effective surface area. The lifetime of AMTEC electrodes is therefore related to the rate of grain growth of the electrode material. A preliminary model has been developed to determine the rate of grain growth over the operational lifetime of an AMTEC. This model examines the conditions for continuous growth as a function of the relative sizes, boundary and activation energies and mobilities of the grains. An assumption of strain-free growth has been made in determining the factors for normal growth. Experimental measurements for titanium nitride alloy electrodes are compared with this model. Predictions are made for performance lifetimes out to 10 years.
Technical Paper

Slow Reversible and Quasi-Reversible Performance Changes in AMTEC Electrodes and Electrolytes

This paper reports several slow reversible and quasi-reversible processes which occur in the porous electrode/solid electrolyte combination at AMTEC operating temperatures. These processes help to elucidate the evolution of the electrode and electrolyte characteristics with time. They also demonstrate that the atomic constituents of the electrode/electrolyte engage in significant dynamic motion. We report the stability of the sodium beta“-alumina phase in low pressure sodium vapor at 1173K up to 3000 hours, and the decomposition of the sodium meta-aluminate (NaAlO2) phase present at about 1% in the BASE ceramic, which gives rise to transient local increases in the solid electrolyte resistivity due to local micro-cracking. We also report slow apparent morphological changes, possibly surface or grain boundary reconstruction, in TiN and RhW electrodes driven by changes in the local sodium activity.
Technical Paper

Mars Rover 2003 Battery Charger

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Exploration Program Office is currently planning a series of exciting missions to the Red Planet. During each launch opportunity, the missions to Mars will include a Rover mission. During the earlier Rover missions to Mars such as the Mars Pathfinder mission carrying the Sojourner Rover in 1997, the main rover power source was a solar array. The power subsystem of the Sojourner Rover included a solar panel for power during the day, a non-rechargeable lithium battery for power during the night, and a power electronics board for power conditioning and distribution. Starting with the year 2003 the rover missions to Mars will incorporate a rechargeable energy storage device rather than a non-rechargeable power source. Included in the power electronics board, will be a battery controller/charger. The battery controller/charger will be able to monitor and control three parallel 4-cell battery strings.