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Technical Paper

Air Quality Standards for Space Vehicles and Habitats

2008-06-29
2008-01-2125
NASA has unique requirements for the development and application of air quality standards for human space flight. Such standards must take into account the continuous nature of exposures, the possibility of increased susceptibility of crewmembers to the adverse effects of air pollutants because of the stresses of space flight, and the recognition that rescue options may be severely limited in remote habitats. NASA has worked with the National Research Council Committee on Toxicology (NRCCOT) since the early 1990s to set and document appropriate standards. The process has evolved through 2 rounds. The first was to set standards for the space station era, and the second was to set standards for longer stays in space and update the original space station standards. The update was to be driven by new toxicological data and by new methods of risk assessment for predicting safe levels from available data. The last phase of this effort has been completed.
Technical Paper

Water Quality Standards for Space Vehicles and Habitats

2008-06-29
2008-01-2196
Water quality standards have been completed for space vehicles and habitats for ingestion periods from 1 day to 1000 days. These standards are called spacecraft water exposure guidelines (SWEGs). The National Research Council Committee on Toxicology has worked with the Toxicology Group at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to set and document these standards. Prior to SWEG development, the practice of NASA was to apply the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) in the interpretation of any potential health effects from water pollutants. This practice had the potential to result in erroneous conclusions because MCLs are intended for lifetime exposures and are set to protect a much more diverse population than is present in the astronaut corps. However, for certain pollutants it was recognized that the stresses of spaceflight may make astronauts more susceptible to adverse effects.
Technical Paper

The Headache of Carbon Dioxide Exposures

2007-07-09
2007-01-3218
Carbon dioxide (CO2), a natural product of human metabolism, accumulates quickly in sealed environments when humans are present, and can induce headaches, among other symptoms. Major resources are expended to control CO2 levels to concentrations that are tolerable to the crews of spacecraft and submersible craft. It is not practical to control CO2 levels to those found in the ambient environment on earth. As NASA looks ahead to long-duration missions conducted far from earth, difficult issues arise related to the management and effects of human exposure to CO2. One is the problem of “pockets” of CO2 in the habitat caused by excess generation of the gas in one location without a mechanism to purge the area with fresh air. This results in the crew rebreathing CO2 from their exhaled breath, exposing them to a much higher concentration of CO2 than whole-module measurements would suggest. Another issue is the potential increased sensitivity to CO2 in microgravity.
Technical Paper

Airborne Dust in Space Vehicles and Habitats

2006-07-17
2006-01-2152
Airborne dust, suspended inside a space vehicle or in future celestial habitats, can present a serious threat to crew health if it is not controlled. During some Apollo missions to the moon, lunar dust brought inside the capsule caused eye irritation and breathing difficulty to the crew when they launched from the moon and reacquired “microgravity.” During Shuttle flights reactive and toxic dusts such as lithium hydroxide have created a risk to crew health, and fine particles from combustion events can be especially worrisome. Under nominal spaceflight conditions, airborne dusts and particles tend to be larger than on earth because of the absence of gravity settling. Aboard the ISS, dusts are effectively managed by high efficiency filters, although floating dust in newly-arrived modules can be a nuisance.
Technical Paper

Flight Data Update on Long-Term Compound Stability in Dual Sorbent Tubes

2006-07-17
2006-01-2151
At last year’s International Conference on Environmental Systems, a technical paper was presented showing the loss of several compounds stored in dual sorbent tubes (DSTs) for long periods (>60 days). At the time, DSTs were virtually the only source available to the U.S. to assess trace contaminant concentrations in spacecraft air; therefore the compound losses were an important problem that needed to be addressed. This paper will update results from the DSTs returned on 9S and 10S Soyuz missions during the latter part of 2005. The data acquired from these DSTs will be compared to the 7S and 8S data presented last year. Discussion will focus on the reliability of correction factors and identification of any trends in the data. Additionally, test plans to investigate the cause of the problem and improve the DSTs will be detailed.
Technical Paper

Development and Performance of the Oxygen Sensor in the CSA-CP Aboard the International Space Station

2004-07-19
2004-01-2337
A combustion products analyzer (CPA) was built for use on the Shuttle in response to several thermodegradation incidents during early flights. When the Toxicology Laboratory at Johnson Space Center (JSC) began to assess the air quality monitoring needs for the International Space Station (ISS), the CPA was the starting point for the design of a thermodegradation event monitor. The final product was significantly different from the CPA and was named the “compound specific analyzer-combustion products” (CSA-CP). One major change from the CPA was the replacement of the hydrogen fluoride sensor with an oxygen sensor. The focus of this paper will be the CSA-CP oxygen sensor’s ground testing, performance on ISS, and reduced pressure testing in response to a need on ISS.
Technical Paper

Validation of the Volatile Organic Analyzer (VOA) Aboard the International Space Station

2003-07-07
2003-01-2646
The Volatile organic analyzer (VOA) has been operated on the International Space Station (ISS) throughout 2002, but only periodically due to software interface problems. This instrument provides near real-time data on the concentration of target volatile organic contaminants in the spacecraft atmosphere. During 2002, a plan to validate the VOA operation on orbit was implemented using an operational scheme to circumvent the software issues. This plan encompassed simultaneous VOA sample runs and collection of archival air samples in grab sample containers (GSC). Agreement between the results from GSC and VOA samples is needed to validate the VOA for operational use. This paper will present the VOA validation data acquired through November 2002.
Technical Paper

Toxicological Assessment of the International Space Station Atmosphere from Mission 5A to 8A

2002-07-15
2002-01-2299
There are many sources of air pollution that can threaten air quality during space missions. The International Space Station (ISS) is an extremely complex platform that depends on a multi-tiered strategy to control the risk of excessive air pollution. During the seven missions surveyed by this report, the ISS atmosphere was in a safe, steady-state condition; however, there were minor loads added as new modules were attached. There was a series of leaks of octafluoropropane, which is not directly toxic to humans, but did cause changes in air purification operations that disrupted the steady state condition. In addition, off-nominal regeneration of metal oxide canisters used during extravehicular activity caused a serious pollution incident.
Technical Paper

The Portable Monitor for Measuring Combustion Products Aboard the International Space Station

2002-07-15
2002-01-2298
The Toxicology Laboratory at Johnson Space Center (JSC) had provided the combustion products analyzer (CPA) since the early 1990s to monitor the spacecraft atmosphere in real time if a thermodegradation event occurred aboard the Shuttle. However, as the operation of the International Space Station (ISS) grew near, an improved CPA was sought that would include a carbon monoxide sensor that did not have a cross-sensitivity to hydrogen. The Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products (CSA-CP) was developed for use on the International Space Station (ISS). The CSA-CP measures three hazardous gases, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and hydrogen chloride, as well as oxygen. The levels of these compounds in the atmosphere following a thermodegradation event serve as markers to determine air quality. The first permanent ISS crew performed the CSA-CP checkout operations and collected baseline data shortly after arrival aboard the ISS in December 2000.
Technical Paper

The Volatile Organic Analyzer (VOA) Aboard the International Space Station

2002-07-15
2002-01-2407
The Volatile Organic Analyzer (VOA) was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard STS-105 in August 2001. This instrument has provided the first near real-time data on the concentrations of trace contaminants in a spacecraft atmosphere. The VOA data will be used to assess air quality on ISS in nominal and contingency situations. Until the VOA presence on ISS, archival samples that were analyzed weeks if not months after the flight were the only means to obtain spacecraft air quality data on volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Especially in contingency situations, real-time data is important to help direct crew response and measure the effectiveness of decontamination efforts. The development and certification of the VOA has been chronicled in past ICES papers. This paper will discuss the preparation of the VOA for ISS operations. Also, examples of VOA data acquired during flight will be presented to demonstrate the value of the instrument in assessing the ISS environment.
Technical Paper

Spacecraft Water Exposure Guidelines: Derivation by Toxicological Risk Assessment Methods

2002-07-15
2002-01-2536
For long duration space flights, wastewater from humidity condensate, urine, and used hygiene water will be recycled to provide an adequate supply of potable quality water for the crew. Due to the diverse nature and multiple sources of contaminants entering the recycling system, it is a challenge to maintain the quality of product water such that no adverse health effects occur. NASA Johnson Space Center in cooperation with the Committee on Toxicology of the National Research Council (NRCCOT) has developed a science-based approach, taking into consideration space flight induced factors, to derive Spacecraft Water Exposure Guidelines (SWEG) for 1, 10, 100, 1000 days of consumption. This paper will discuss the ongoing process of setting SWEGs, how candidate chemicals were chosen for risk assessment, and how various toxicological data are collected and interpreted. Our goal is to help environmental engineers understand how the SWEGs they use for hardware design are developed.
Technical Paper

Toxicological Assessment of the International Space Station Atmosphere, Part 2

2001-07-09
2001-01-2396
Space-faring crews must have safe breathing air throughout their missions to ensure adequate performance and good health. Toxicological assessment of air quality depends on the standards that define acceptable air quality, measurements of pollutant levels during the flight, and reports from the crew on their in-flight perceptions of air quality. Air samples from ISS flights 2A.2a, 2A.2b, 3A, and 4A were analyzed for trace pollutants. On average the air during each flight was safe for human respiration. However, there were reports from the crew that they experienced a headache when in certain areas, and strong odors were reported from specific locations of the ISS complex. Inspection of air samples in these locations suggested that several of the solvent-type pollutants (e.g. ethyl acetate, xylenes, and n-butanol) were present in concentrations that would cause a strong odor to be perceived by some individuals.
Technical Paper

A Process to Evaluate Advanced Technologies for Future NASA Needs

2001-07-09
2001-01-2399
The development of innovative technologies leading to flight hardware requires substantially more funding than typical commercial development efforts. Therefore, given the current resource constraints at NASA, funding must be invested wisely in new technologies having a high probability of meeting requirements established by NASA. The Toxicology Laboratory at Johnson Space Center (JSC) was faced with such a choice in selecting technology for a second-generation volatile organic analyzer to be used for monitoring spacecraft air quality in the later phases of the International Space Station (ISS). A method was needed that could fairly and accurately evaluate technologies and ultimately lead to the selection of the best technology. A systematic approach to identifying, reviewing, and rating advanced technologies was developed. Results from the second-generation VOA activities will be used to illustrate this unique technology selection process.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of a Portable Carbon Dioxide Monitor for Use Aboard the International Space Station

2000-07-10
2000-01-2433
The crew of flight 2A.1 that manned the International Space Station (ISS) assembly mission (STS-96) in May 1999 experienced symptoms that they attributed to poor air quality while working in the ISS modules. Some of these symptoms suggested that an accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the work area could have contributed to temporary health impacts on the crew. Currently, a fixed-position CO2 monitor in the FGB is the only means of measuring this air contaminant aboard ISS. As a result of this incident, NASA directed the Toxicology Laboratory at Johnson Space Center (JSC) to deliver a portable CO2 monitor for the next ISS assembly mission (STS-101). The Toxicology Laboratory developed performance requirements for a CO2 monitor and surveyed available CO2 monitoring technologies. The selected portable CO2 monitor uses nondispersive infrared spectroscopy for detection. This paper describes this instrument, its operation, and presents the results from ground-based performance testing.
Technical Paper

A Second Generation Volatile Organic Analyzer for the International Space Station

1999-07-12
1999-01-2059
Experiences during the Shuttle and NASA/Mir programs illustrated the need for a real-time volatile organic analyzer (VOA) to assess the impact of air quality disruptions on the International Space Station (ISS). Toward this end, a joint development by the Toxicology Laboratory at Johnson Space Center and Graseby Dynamics (Watford, UK) produced a 1st generation VOA that has been delivered and is ready for the first 5 years of ISS operation. Criteria for the selection of the 1st generation VOA included minimizing the size, weight, and power consumption while maintaining analytical performance. Consequently, a VOA system based upon gas chromatography/ion mobility spectrometry (GC/IMS) was selected in the mid-90’s. A smaller, less resource-intensive device than the 1st generation VOA will be needed as NASA looks beyond ISS operations. During the past three years, efforts to reduce the size of ion mobility spectrometers have been pursued.
Technical Paper

Toxicological Assessment of Sealed Spacecraft Modules

1999-07-12
1999-01-2055
Spacecraft modules that are last purged with clean air several months before they are entered by humans on orbit require careful management. The crew must not be exposed to harmful concentrations of air pollutants when they first enter. The magnitude of the pollution the crew will encounter depends on the volume of the module, the length of time since the last clean-air purge or scrub, the inherent offgassing rate of the materials in the module, the interior temperature of the module while offgassing occurs, and the system leak rate. The time of the last module purge or scrub can be several months before crew entry, so it is essential that the offgassing rate within the module be measured over a suitable interval of time to estimate pollution levels with confidence. Air samples were taken from the STS-74 Russian Docking Module, the STS-79 Spacehab, and the ISS Node 1 prior to launch to predict pollution levels at crew first entry.
Technical Paper

Strategy for Monitoring Trace Contaminants on International Space Station

1998-07-13
981742
The complexity of the atmosphere aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will require a multifaceted monitoring strategy for both nominal and emergency conditions to protect the health and safety of the crew. Samples to be collected for air-quality assessment will include both archival sampling for ground analysis and on-board automatic analyses. Archival samples will be analyzed after return by standard gas chromatography/mass spectrometry; a separate formaldehyde analysis will be conducted as well. On-orbit analyses are planned for specific combustion products and for specific volatile organic compounds of toxicological significance. The air-lock will be monitored after EVAs to ensure that no propellants are introduced into the cabin atmosphere. Additional remote samples can be collected in sample bags from other ISS elements and brought to the Volatile Organic Analyzer (VOA) for analysis.
Technical Paper

Toxicological Basis for Establishing Spacecraft Air Monitoring Requirements

1998-07-13
981738
The monitoring of trace pollutants in spacecraft air is essential to protect the crew from harmful exposures. Monitoring requirements are focused on those sources of pollutants that pose the highest risk to crew health. Deciding which sources pose the greatest risk is done based on years of experience with the Space Shuttle, and more recently with the Russian Mir space station. Combustion of nonmetallic materials associated with electric circuits or heat-generating devices poses the greatest risk to crew health. Major leaks of fluids from systems or payloads also pose a significant risk. Other potential risks include accumulation of metabolites, entry of propellants, and excess offgassing, especially in modules that have been sealed for long periods.
Technical Paper

Results of the Risk Mitigation Experiment for the Volatile Organic Analyzer

1998-07-13
981745
A volatile organic analyzer (VOA), developed by Graseby Dynamics, Ltd. under contract to the Johnson Space Center Toxicology Laboratory, is the core instrument for trace contaminant monitoring on the International Space Station (ISS). The VOA will allow trace amounts of target compounds to be analyzed in real time so that ISS air quality can be assessed in nominal and contingency situations. Recent events on Mir have underscored the need for real-time analysis of air quality so that the crew can respond promptly during off-nominal conditions. The VOA, which is based on gas chromatography/ion mobility spectrometry, is the first spacecraft instrument to be used for such a complex task. Consequently, a risk mitigation experiment (VOA/RME) was flown to assess the performance and engineering aspects of the VOA. This paper is a review of VOA/RME results from the STS-81 and STS-89 flights and their implications for the ISS VOA design and operations.
Technical Paper

Setting Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations for 1 hour or 24 hour Contingency Exposures to Airborne Chemicals

1992-07-01
921410
Since the early years of the manned space program, NASA has developed and used exposure limits called Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations (SMACs) to help protect astronauts from airborne toxicants. Most of these SMACS are based on an exposure duration of 7 days, since this is the duration of a “typical” mission. A set of “contingency SMACs” is also being developed for scenarios involving brief (1-hour or 24- hour) exposures to relatively high levels of airborne toxicants from event-related “contingency” releases of contaminants. The emergency nature of contingency exposures dictates the use of different criteria for setting exposure limits. The NASA JSC Toxicology Group recently began a program to document the rationales used to set new SMACs and plans to review the older, 7-day SMACs. In cooperation with the National Research Council's Committee on Toxicology, a standard procedure has been developed for researching, setting, and documenting SMAC values.
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