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Technical Paper

Design Validation - via Parabolic Flight Tests - of a Condensate Buffer Equalizing a Discontinuous Gas / Water Flow between a Condensing Heat Exchanger and a Water Separator

EADS SPACE Transportation GmbH designed, built and tested a condensate buffer to be located between a Condensing Heat Exchanger (CHX) and a Condensate Water Separator Assembly (CWSA), as part of the ECLSS of the European Columbus Module. Under zero-g conditions, the separation of water from an air-water mixture is always difficult, especially if a passive device is to be used such as the low power consuming Columbus CWSA. The additional buffer volume reduces condensate water peaks reaching the CWSA to a level that excludes an overloading of the CWSA and a release of free water droplets into the air return to the cabin. In the CHX/CWSA system this may only be necessary under worst case operational conditions and with a failure of the qualified hydrophilic coating of the CHX. The buffer design principle was confirmed via prior analyses and on-ground testing. The performance of such a condensate buffer under micro-g conditions was verified during parabolic flights.
Technical Paper

The Columbus ECLSS First Year of Operations

The launch and activation of ESA's Columbus module in early 2008 marked the completion of more than 10 years of development. Since then the Columbus ECLS is operating, including its major European ECLSS assemblies such as Condensing Heat Exchanger (CHX), Condensate Water Separator, Cabin Fans and Sensors. The paper will report the experiences from the first year of operations in terms of events, failures and lessons learned. Examples of this is the description of some off-nominal situations (such as Condensate Removal and IMV Return Fan failure, and relevant troubleshooting), and the preparation to Columbus Reduced Condensation Mode, as requested by NASA in order to minimize the crew time needed to empty Condensate Water Tanks in US Lab.
Technical Paper

Columbus ECLS Activation and Initial Operations

European Space Agency's (ESA's) Columbus module was launched on February 7, 2008. This marks the completion of more than 10 years of development. It is a major step forward for Europe in the area of Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) as Columbus contains several major assemblies which have been developed in Europe. These include the Condensing Heat Exchanger, Condensate Water Separator and the Cabin Fans. The paper gives a short overview of the system and its features and it will report the experiences from the initial activation and operations phase.