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Technical Paper

Space Life Support from the Cellular Perspective

2001-07-09
2001-01-2229
Determining the fundamental role of gravity in vital biological systems in space is one of six science and research areas that provides the philosophical underpinning for why NASA exists. The study of cells, tissues, and microorganisms in a spaceflight environment holds the promise of answering multiple intriguing questions about how gravity affects living systems. To enable these studies, specimens must be maintained in an environment similar to that used in a laboratory. Cell culture studies under normal laboratory conditions involve maintaining a highly specialized environment with the necessary temperature, humidity control, nutrient, and gas exchange conditions. These same cell life support conditions must be provided by the International Space Station (ISS) Cell Culture Unit (CCU) in the unique environment of space. The CCU is a perfusion-based system that must function in microgravity, at unit gravity (1g) on earth, and from 0.1g up to 2g aboard the ISS centrifuge rotor.
Technical Paper

Testing of the Prototype Plant Research Unit Subsystems

1996-07-01
961507
The Plant Research Unit (PRU) is currently under development by the Space Station Biological Research Project (SSBRP) team at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) with a scheduled launch in 2001. The goal of the project is to provide a controlled environment that can support seed-to-seed and other plant experiments for up to 90 days. This paper describes testing conducted on the major PRU prototype subsystems. Preliminary test results indicate that the prototype subsystem hardware can meet most of the SSBRP science requirements within the Space Station mass, volume, power and heat rejection constraints.
Technical Paper

Development of Insect Habitat System for Studying Long Duration Circadian Rhythm Changes on Mir Space Station

1997-07-01
972311
A habitat for housing up to 32 Tenebrionid, black body beetles (Trigonoscelis gigas Reitter) has been developed at Ames Research Center for conducting studies to evaluate the effects of long duration spaceflight upon insect circadian timing systems. This habitat, identified as the Beetle Kit, provides an automatically controlled lighting system and activity and temperature recording devices, as well as individual beetle enclosures. Each of the 32 enclosures in a Beetle Kit allows for ad lib movement of the beetle as well as ventilation of the beetle enclosure via an externally operated hand pump. Two Beetle Kits were launched on STS-84 (Shuttle-Mir Mission-06) on May 15, 1997 and were transferred to the Priroda module of the Russian Mir space station on May 18 as part of the NASA/Mir Phase 1 Science Program. Following the Progress collision with Spektr on June 25, the Kits were transferred to the Kristall module. The beetles will remain on Mir for approximately 135 days.
Technical Paper

Mass Transport in a Spaceflight Plant Growth Chamber

1998-07-13
981553
The Plant Generic BioProcessing Apparatus (PGBA), a plant growth facility developed for commercial space biotechnology research, has flown successfully on 3 spaceflight missions for 4, 10 and 16 days. The environmental control systems of this plant growth chamber (28 liter/0.075 m2) provide atmospheric, thermal, and humidity control, as well as lighting and nutrient supply. Typical performance profiles of water transpiration and dehumidification, carbon dioxide absorption (photosynthesis) and respiration rates in the PGBA unit (on orbit and ground) are presented. Data were collected on single and mixed crops. Design options and considerations for the different sub-systems are compared with those of similar hardware.
Technical Paper

Fundamental Biology Research During the NASA/Mir Science Program

1995-07-01
951477
A multi-discipline, multi-year collaborative spaceflight research program (NASA/Mir Science Program) has been established between the United States and Russia utilizing the capabilities of the Russian Mir Space Station and the NASA space shuttle fleet. As a key research discipline to be carried out onboard Mir, fundamental biology research encompasses three basic objectives: first, to investigate long-term effects of microgravity upon plant and avian physiology and developmental biology; second, to investigate the long-term effects of microgravity upon circadian rhythm patterns of biological systems; and third, to characterize the long-term radiation environment (internal and external) of the Russian Mir space station. The first joint U.S./Russian fundamental biology research on-board Mir is scheduled to begin in March, 1995 with the Mir mission 18 and conclude with the docking of the U.S. shuttle to Mir in June, 1995 during the STS-71, Spacelab/Mir Mission-1 (SLM-1).
Technical Paper

Modification of the Research Animal Holding Facility (RAHF) to Support Nursing Rats and Their Litters During Spaceflight

1995-07-01
951478
The Research Animal Holding Facility (RAHF) is a spaceflight-qualified hardware system for housing adult rats. The Neurolab Space Shuttle mission, targeted for February 1998 on STS-89, will include neuroscience experiments involving nursing rat dams and neonates (newborn rats). Rat neonates have never been previously flown for spaceflight experimentation, and they present unique life support, science, and engineering challenges in the Spacelab microgravity environment. Modifications of the RAHF (with an associated comprehensive testing program, including spaceflight) are currently underway at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), in order to add to the RAHF the capability of supporting nursing dams and neonates in preparation for Neurolab.
Technical Paper

Microgravity Flight - Accommodating Non-Human Primates

1994-06-01
941287
Spacelab Life Sciences-3 (SLS-3) was scheduled to be the first United States man-tended microgravity flight containing Rhesus monkeys. The goal of this flight as in the five untended Russian COSMOS Bion flights and an earlier American Biosatellite flight, was to understand the biomedical and biological effects of a microgravity environment using the non-human primate as human surrogate. The SLS-3/Rhesus Project and COSMOS Primate-BIOS flights all utilized the rhesus monkey, Macaca mulatta. The ultimate objective of all flights with an animal surrogate has been to evaluate and understand biological mechanisms at both the system and cellular level, thus enabling rational effective countermeasures for future long duration human activity under microgravity conditions and enabling technical application to correction of common human physiological problems within earth's gravity, e.g., muscle strength and reloading, osteoporosis, immune deficiency diseases.
Technical Paper

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

1993-07-01
932245
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

Current and Planned Modifications to the Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) Technology in Response to the MSFC ECLS Long Duration Test Results

2008-06-29
2008-01-2141
The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) Technology has undergone long duration testing at MSFC. The results of this testing revealed several areas in which the VPCAR Technology could be improved and those improvements are summarized here. These improvements include the replacement of several parts with units that are more durable, redesign of several pieces which proved to have mechanical weaknesses, and incorporation of some new designs in order to prevent other potential problems.
Technical Paper

Advanced Development of the Direct Osmotic Concentration System

2008-06-29
2008-01-2145
Direct osmotic concentration (DOC) is an integrated membrane treatment process designed for the reclamation of spacecraft wastewater. The system includes forward osmosis (FO), membrane evaporation, reverse osmosis (RO) and an aqueous phase catalytic oxidation (APCO) post-treatment unit. This document describes progress in the third year of a four year project to advance hardware maturity of this technology to a level appropriate for human rated testing. The current status of construction and testing of the final deliverable is covered and preliminary calculations of equivalent system mass are funished.
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

2006-07-17
2006-01-2126
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

Integration and Synthesis in Astrobiology

2000-07-10
2000-01-2341
Astrobiology is one of the most highly integrative scientific efforts ever undertaken, relying on the synthesis of sciences from astronomy to zoology and geology to genomics to discover the thread of life in the universe. These sciences must be further integrated with the technological revolutions in biotechnology, microminiaturization and information technology to realize the vast potential offered by NASA's mission suites. This paper discusses development of the Astrobiology Roadmap and novel management approaches which attempt to bring in the best scientific and technical talent available to bear on Astrobiology's goals, while simultaneously minimizing the overhead and time to flight for Astrobiology payloads.
Technical Paper

The Telescience Support Center at NASA Ames Research Center

2000-07-10
2000-01-2362
NASA is developing a Telescience Support Center (TSC) at the Ames Research Center. The center will be part of the infrastructure needed to conduct research in the Space Station and has been tailored to satisfy the requirements of the fundamental biology research program. The TSC will be developed from existing facilities at the Ames Research Center. Ground facility requirements have been derived from the TSC functional requirements. Most of the facility requirements will be satisfied with minor upgrades and modifications to existing buildings and laboratories. The major new development will be a modern data processing system. The TSC is being developed in three phases which correspond to deliveries of Biological Research Facility equipment to Station. The first phase will provide support for early hardware in flight Utilization Flight −1 (UF-1) in 2001.
Technical Paper

Assessment of the Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) Technology at the MSFC ECLS Test Facility

2007-07-09
2007-01-3036
The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) technology has been previously discussed as a viable option for the Exploration Water Recovery System. This technology integrates a phase change process with catalytic oxidation in the vapor phase to produce potable water from exploration mission wastewaters. A developmental prototype VPCAR was designed, built and tested under funding provided by a National Research Announcement (NRA) project. The core technology, a Wiped Film Rotating Device (WFRD) was provided by Water Reuse Technologies under the NRA, whereas Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International performed the hardware integration and acceptance test of the system. Personnel at the Ames Research Center performed initial systems test of the VPCAR using ersatz solutions. To assess the viability of this hardware for Exploration Life Support (ELS) applications, the hardware has been modified and tested at the MSFC ECLS Test Facility.
Technical Paper

Lyophilization for Water Recovery III, System Design

2005-07-11
2005-01-3084
Mixed liquid/solid wastes, including feces, water processor effluents, and food waste, can be lyophilized (freeze-dried) to recover the water they contain and stabilize the solids that remain. Our previous research has demonstrated the potential benefits of using thermoelectric heat pumps to build a lyophilizer for processing waste in microgravity. These results were used to build a working prototype suitable for ground-based human testing. This paper describes the prototype design and presents results of functional and performance tests.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Mission Location on Mission Costs and Equivalent System Mass

2003-07-07
2003-01-2633
Equivalent System Mass (ESM) is used by the Advanced Life Support (ALS) community to quantify mission costs of technologies for space applications (Drysdale et al, 1999, Levri et al, 2000). Mass is used as a cost measure because the mass of an object determines propulsion (acceleration) cost (i.e. amount of fuel needed), and costs relating to propulsion dominate mission cost. Mission location drives mission cost because acceleration is typically required to initiate and complete a change in location. Total mission costs may be reduced by minimizing the mass of materials that must be propelled to each distinct location. In order to minimize fuel requirements for missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO), the hardware and astronauts may not all go to the same location. For example, on a Lunar or Mars mission, some of the hardware or astronauts may stay in orbit while the rest of the hardware and astronauts descend to the planetary surface.
Technical Paper

Compressing Aviation Data in XML Format

2003-09-08
2003-01-3011
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

2002-07-15
2002-01-2397
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

Lyophilization for Water Recovery

2001-07-09
2001-01-2348
An energy-efficient lyophilization technique is being developed to recover water from highly contaminated spacecraft waste streams. In the lyophilization process, water in an aqueous waste is frozen and then sublimed, separating the waste into a dried solid material and liquid water. This technology is ideally suited to applications such as the Mars Reference Mission, where water recovery rates approaching 100% are desirable but production of CO2 is not. Candidate wastes include feces, concentrated brines from water processors, and other solid wastes that contain water. To operate in microgravity, and to minimize power consumption, thermoelectric heat pumps can be used in place of traditional fluid cycle heat pumps. A mathematical model of a thermoelectric lyophilizer is described and used to generate energy use and processing rate estimates.
Technical Paper

Lyophilization for Water Recovery II, Model Validation

2004-07-19
2004-01-2377
This paper presents results of research on a solid waste dryer, based of the process of lyophilization, which recovers water and stabilizes solid waste. A lyophilizer has been developed and tested that uses thermoelectric heat pumps (TECs) to recycle heat during drying. The properties of TECs facilitate direct measurement of heat flow rates, and heat flow data are used to evaluate a heat and mass transfer model of the thermoelectric lyophilizer. Data are consistent with the theoretical model in most respects. Practical problems such as insulation and vacuum maintenance are minor in this system. However, the model’s assumption of a uniformly retreating ice layer during drying is valid only for the first 30% of water removed. Beyond this point, a shrinking core or lens model is more appropriate. Heat transfer to the shrinking core surrounded by dried material is slow.
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