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Technical Paper

Space Life Support from the Cellular Perspective

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

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

Mass Transport in a Spaceflight Plant Growth Chamber

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

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

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

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

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

Advanced Development of the Direct Osmotic Concentration System

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

The Telescience Support Center at NASA Ames Research Center

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

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

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

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

An Evaluation of a Prototype Dry Pyrolysis System for Destruction of Solid Wastes

Pyrolysis is a technology that can be used on future space missions to convert wastes to an inert char, water, and gases. The gases can be easily vented overboard on near term missions. For far term missions the gases could be directed to a combustor or recycled. The conversion to char and gases as well as the absence of a need for resupply materials are advantages of pyrolysis. A major disadvantage of pyrolysis is that it can produce tars that are difficult to handle and can cause plugging of the processing hardware. By controlling the heating rate of primary pyrolysis, the secondary (cracking) bed temperature, and residence time, it is possible that tar formation can be minimized for most biomass materials. This paper describes an experimental evaluation of two versions of pyrolysis reactors that were delivered to the NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) as the end products of a Phase II and a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project.