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Technical Paper

Development of a Pilot Scale Apparatus for Control of Solid Waste Using Low Temperature Oxidation

In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The important goals outlined in this document include extending human presence in the solar system culminating in the exploration of Mars. Unprocessed waste poses a biological hazard to crew health and morale. The waste processing methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this project is to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. In the Phase I project, TDA Research, Inc. demonstrated the potential of a low temperature oxidation process using ozone. In the current Phase II project, TDA and NASA Ames Research Center are developing a pilot scale low temperature ozone oxidation system.
Technical Paper

Carbon Production in Space from Pyrolysis of Solid Waste

Pyrolysis processing of solid waste in space will inevitably lead to carbon formation as a primary pyrolysis product. The amount of carbon depends on the composition of the starting materials and the pyrolysis conditions (temperature, heating rate, residence time, pressure). Many paper and plastic materials produce almost no carbon residue upon pyrolysis, while most plant biomass materials or human wastes will yield up to 20-40 weight percent on a dry, as-received basis. In cases where carbon production is significant, it can be stored for later use to produce CO2 for plant growth. Alternatively it can be partly gasified by an oxidizing gas (e.g., CO2, H2O, O2) in order to produce activated carbon. Activated carbons have a unique capability of strongly absorbing a great variety of species, ranging from SO2 and NOx, trace organics, mercury, and other heavy metals.
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

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

Detailed Experimental Results of Drag-Reduction Concepts on a Generic Tractor-Trailer

The 1/8-scale Generic Conventional Model was studied experimentally in two wind tunnels at NASA Ames Research Center. The investigation was conducted at a Mach number of 0.15 over a Reynolds number range from 1 to 6 million. The experimental measurements included total and component forces and moments, surface pressures, and 3-D particle image velocimetry. Two configurations (trailer base flaps and skirts) were compared to a baseline representative of a modern tractor aero package. Details of each configuration provide insight into the complex flow field and the resulting drag reduction was found to be sensitive to Reynolds number.
Technical Paper

A Testbed for the Mars Returned Sample Handling Facility

Samples of Mars surface material will return to Earth in 2014. Prior to curation and distribution to the scientific community the returned samples will be isolated in a special facility until their biological safety has been assessed following protocols established by NASA’s Planetary Protection Office. The primary requirements for the pre-release handling of the Martian samples include protecting the samples from the Earth and protecting the Earth from the sample. A testbed will be established to support the design of such a facility and to test the planetary protection protocols. One design option that is being compared to the conventional Biological Safety Level 4 facility is a double walled differential pressure chamber with airlocks and automated equipment for analyzing samples and transferring them from one instrument to another.
Technical Paper

Pressure-Sensitive Paint Technology Applied to Low-Speed Automotive Testing

Pressure-sensitive paint (PSP) technology is a technique used to experimentally determine surface pressures on models during wind tunnel tests. The key to this technique is a specially formulated pressure-sensitive paint that responds to, and can be correlated with the local air pressure. Wind tunnel models coated with pressure-sensitive paint are able to yield quantitative pressure data on an entire model surface in the form of light intensity values in recorded images. Quantitative results in terms of pressure coefficients (Cp) are obtained by correlating PSP data with conventional pressure tap data. Only a small number of surface taps are needed to be able to obtain quantitative pressure data with the PSP method. This technique is gaining acceptance so that future automotive wind tunnel tests can be done at reduced cost by eliminating most of the expensive pressure taps from wind tunnel models.
Technical Paper

Microgravity Root Zone Hydration Systems

Accurate root zone moisture control in microgravity plant growth systems is problematic. With gravity, excess water drains along a vertical gradient, and water recovery is easily accomplished. In microgravity, the distribution of water is less predictable and can easily lead to flooding, as well as anoxia. Microgravity water delivery systems range from solidified agar, water-saturated foams, soils and hydroponics soil surrogates including matrix-free porous tube delivery systems. Surface tension and wetting along the root substrate provides the means for adequate and uniform water distribution. Reliable active soil moisture sensors for an automated microgravity water delivery system currently do not exist. Surrogate parameters such as water delivery pressure have been less successful.
Technical Paper

Force and Moment Measurements with Pressure-Sensitive Paint

The desire to provide integrated surface pressures for aerodynamic loads measurements has been a driving force behind the development of pressure-sensitive paint (PSP). To demonstrate the suitability of PSP for this purpose, it is not sufficient to simply show that PSP is accurate as compared to pressure taps. PSP errors due to misregistration or temperature sensitivity may be high near model edges, where pressure taps are rarely installed. Thus, PSP results will appear good compared to the taps, but will yield inaccurate results when integrated. A more stringent technique is to compare integrated PSP data over the entire model surface with balance and/or CFD results. This paper describes a simple integration method for PSP data and presents comparisons of balance and PSP results for three experiments. PSP is shown quite accurate for normal force measurements, but less effective at determining axial force and moments.
Technical Paper

Plant Growth and Ecosystem Development on a Terraformed Mars: With the Use of the International Space Station to Investigate Plant Growth in Martian Gravity

A fundamental question for Astrobiology is the question of the ability of life to expand beyond its planet of origin. Introducing life on Mars is the likely near-term step in addressing this question. Making Mars more suitable for life (terraforming) involves altering the martian environment so that microorganisms and plants from Earth could survive there. We define two principal goals: 1) determine the minimal change in pressure, gas composition, and temperature on Mars that would allow for growth of plants from arctic and alpine biomes. 2) Determine the characteristics of plant growth at 0.38 g. This paper reviews martian environmental factors in the context of plant survival, and discusses the use of Space Station as a hypogravity testbed.
Technical Paper

Development of the Standard Interface Glovebox (SIGB) for use on Shuttle, MIR, and International Space Station

An innovative design that meets both Shuttle and Space Station requirements for a user-friendly, volume-efficient, portable glovebox system has been developed at Ames Research Center (ARC). The Standard Interface Glovebox (SIGB) has been designed as a two Middeck locker-sized system that mounts in a Middeck Rack Structure (MRS) or in any rack using the Standard Interface Rack (SIR) rail spacing. The MRS provides structural support for the SIGB during all aspects of the mission and is an interface consistent with NASA's desire for commonality of mechanical interfaces, allowing the SIGB to be flown on essentially any manned space platform. The SIGB provides an enclosed work volume which operates at negative pressure relative to ambient, as well as excellent lighting and ample work volume for anticipated life sciences-related experiment operations inflight.
Technical Paper

Plant Growth and Plant Environmental Monitoring Equipment on the Mir Space Station: Experience and Data from the Greenhouse II Experiment

A three country effort (U.S., Russia, and Bulgaria) has upgraded the plant growth facilities on the Mir Space Station and used the new facility to grow wheat for 90 days. The Svet plant-growth facility was reactivated and used in an initial experiment as part of the Shuttle/Mir program, August to November, 1995. The Svet system, used first to grow cabbage and radish during a 1990 experiment, was augmented by the addition of a U.S. developed Gas Exchange Measurement System (GEMS) that measures a range of environmental parameters plus transpiration, photosynthesis, and possibly respiration. Environmental parameters include cabin, chamber, root-zones, and leaf temperatures. Light levels, relative humidity, oxygen, and atmospheric pressure are also measured. High-accuracy water-vapor and carbon-dioxide concentrations and differences are measured using specially developed IRGA systems.
Technical Paper

Growth of Super-Dwarf Wheat on the Russian Space Station MIR

During 1995, we tested instruments and attempted a seed-to-seed experiment with Super-Dwarf wheat in the Russian Space Station Mir. Utah instrumentation included four IR gas analyzers (CO2 and H2O vapor, calculate photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration) and sensors for air and leaf (IR) temperatures, O2, pressure, and substrate moisture (16 probes). Shortly after planting on August 14, three of six fluorescent lamp sets failed; another failed later. Plastic bags, necessary to measure gas exchange, were removed. Hence, gases were measured only in the cabin atmosphere. Other failures led to manual watering, control of lights, and data transmission. The 57 plants were sampled five times plus final harvest at 90 d. Samples and some equipment (including hard drives) were returned to earth on STS-74 (Nov. 20). Plants were disoriented and completely vegetative. Maintaining substrate moisture was challenging, but the moisture probes functioned well.
Technical Paper


A series of tests has been completed in which suckdown and fountain forces and pressures were measured on circular plates and twin-tandem-jet generic STOVL (short takeoff and vertical landing) configurations. The tests were conducted using a small-scale hover rig, for jet pressure ratios up to 6 and jet temperatures up to 700°F. The measured suckdown force on a circular plate with a central jet was greater than that found with a commonly used empirical prediction method. The present data showed better agreement with other sets of data. The tests of the generic STOVL configurations were conducted to provide force and pressure data with a parametric variation of parameters so that an empirical prediction method could be developed. The effects of jet pressure ratio and temperature were found to be small. Lift improvement devices were shown to substantially reduce the net suckdown forces. Paper to be presented at SAE Aerospace Meeting, Dayton, Ohio, April 24-27, 1990
Technical Paper

Propulsion System Sizing For Powered Lift And Mechanical Flap Quiet Aircraft

Propulsion system sizing for mechanical flap and externally blown flap aircraft is demonstrated. Included in this study is the effect of various levels of noise suppression on the aircraft final design characteristics. Both aircraft are sized to operate from a 3000 ft runway and perform the same mission. For each aircraft concept, propulsion system sizing is demonstrated for two different engine cycles-one having a fan pressure ratio of 1.5 and a bypass ratio of 9 and the other having a fan pressure ratio of 1.25 and a bypass ratio of 17.8. The results presented include the required thrust to weight ratio, wing loading, resulting gross weight and direct operating costs as functions of the engine noise level for each combination of engine cycle and aircraft concept.