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Technical Paper

The CELSS Antarctic Analog Project: A Validation of CELSS Methodologies at the South Pole Station

The CELSS Antarctic Analog Project (CAAP) is a joint NSF and NASA project tor the development, deployment and operation of CELSS technologies at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. CAAP is implemented through the joint NSF/NASA Antarctic Space Analog Program (ASAP), initiated to support the pursuit of future NASA missions and to promote the transfer of space technologies to the NSF. As a joint endeavor, the CAAP represents an example of a working dual agency cooperative project. NASA goals are operational testing of CELSS technologies and the conduct of scientific study to facilitate technology selection, system design and methods development required for the operation of a CELSS. Although not fully closed, food production, water purification, and waste recycle and reduction provided by CAAP will improve the quality of life for the South Pole inhabitants, reduce logistics dependence, and minimize environmental impacts associated with human presence on the polar plateau.
Technical Paper

Online Project Information System (OPIS) Description, Annual Reporting Outcomes, and Resulting Improvements

The On-line Project Information System (OPIS) is the Exploration Life Support (ELS) mechanism for task data sharing and annual reporting. Fiscal year 2008 (FY08) was the first year in which ELS Principal Investigators (PI's) were required to complete an OPIS annual report. The reporting process consists of downloading a template that is customized to the task deliverable type(s), completing the report, and uploading the document to OPIS for review and approval. In addition to providing a general status and overview of OPIS features, this paper describes the user critiques and resulting system modifications of the first year of OPIS reporting efforts. Specifically, this paper discusses process communication and logistics issues, user interface ambiguity, report completion challenges, and the resultant or pending system improvements designed to circumvent such issues for the fiscal year 2009 reporting effort.
Technical Paper

Heat Transfer Characteristics of the Concentric Disk inside the WFRD Evaporator for the VPCAR Water Recovery System

We consider the heat transfer characteristics of an ideal concentric disk used in the Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk (WFRD) evaporator for the Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) water recovery system. A mathematical model is derived to predict the radial temperature distribution and its average over the surface of the disk as a function of system parameters. The model shows self-similarity of the temperature distribution and the existence of a dimensionless parameter S (ratio of heat flux to convection) that can be used as a criterion to optimize the thermal characteristics of the disk in order to approach uniform surface temperature. Comparison of the model to experimental data using global (infrared imager) and local (resistive temperature devices) measurements shows that agreement with the model depends on the ambient condition denoted by the local heat transfer coefficient.
Technical Paper

Pyrolysis of Mixed Solid Food, Paper, and Packaging Wastes

Pyrolysis is a very versatile waste processing technology which can be tailored to produce a variety of solid, liquid and/or gaseous products. The pyrolysis processing of pure and mixed solid waste streams has been under investigation for several decades for terrestrial use and a few commercial units have been built for niche applications. Pyrolysis has more recently been considered for the processing of mixed solid wastes in space. While pyrolysis units can easily handle mixed solid waste streams, the dependence of the pyrolysis product distribution on the component composition is not well known. It is often assumed that the waste components (e.g., food, paper, plastic) behave independently, but this is a generalization that can usually only be applied to the overall weight loss and not always to the yields of individual gas species.
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

Compressing Aviation Data in XML Format

Design, operations and maintenance activities in aviation involve analysis of variety of aviation data. This data is typically in disparate formats making it difficult to use with different software packages. Use of a self-describing and extensible standard called XML provides a solution to this interoperability problem. While self-describing nature of XML makes it easy to reuse, it also increases the size of data significantly. A natural solution to the problem is to compress the data using suitable algorithm and transfer it in the compressed form. We found that XML-specific compressors such as Xmill and XMLPPM generally outperform traditional compressors. However, optimal use of Xmill requires of discovery of optimal options to use while running Xmill. Manual discovery of optimal setting can require an engineer to experiment for weeks.
Technical Paper

The Development of the Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk Evaporator for the Reclamation of Water at Microgravity

This project is a Phase III SBIR contract between NASA and Water Reuse Technology (WRT). It covers the redesign, modification, and construction of the Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk (WFRD) evaporator for use in microgravity and its integration into a Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system. VPCAR is a water processor technology for long duration space exploration applications. The system is designed as an engineering development unit specifically aimed at being integrated into NASA Johnson Space Center's Bioregenerative Planetary Life Support Test Complex (BIO-Plex). The WFRD evaporator and the compressor are being designed and built by WRT. The balance of the VPCAR system and the integrated package are being designed and built by Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Inc. (HSSSI) under a subcontract with WRT. This paper provides a description of the VPCAR technology and the advances that are being incorporated into the unit.
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

Airport Remote Tower Sensor Systems

Remote Tower Sensor Systems are proof-of-concept prototypes being developed by NASA/Ames Research Center (NASA/ARC) with collaboration with the FAA and NOAA. RTSS began with the deployment of an Airport Approach Zone Camera System that includes real-time weather observations at San Francisco International Airport. The goal of this research is to develop, deploy, and demonstrate remotely operated cameras and sensors at several major airport hubs and un-towered airports. RTSS can provide real-time weather observations of airport approach zone. RTSS will integrate and test airport sensor packages that will allow remote access to real-time airport conditions and aircraft status.
Journal Article

Modeling Weather Impact on Airport Arrival Miles-in-Trail Restrictions

When the demand for either a region of airspace or an airport approaches or exceeds the available capacity, miles-in-trail (MIT) restrictions are the most frequently issued traffic management initiatives (TMIs) that are used to mitigate these imbalances. Miles-in-trail operations require aircraft in a traffic stream to meet a specific inter-aircraft separation in exchange for maintaining a safe and orderly flow within the stream. This stream of aircraft can be departing an airport, over a common fix, through a sector, on a specific route or arriving at an airport. This study begins by providing a high-level overview of the distribution and causes of arrival MIT restrictions for the top ten airports in the United States. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of the frequency, duration and cause of MIT restrictions impacting the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) from 2009 through 2011.