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Technical Paper

Solid Waste Processing - An Essential Technology for the Early Phases of Mars Exploration and Colonization

1997-07-01
972272
Terraforming of Mars is the long-term goal of colonization of Mars. However, this process is likely to be a very slow process and conservative estimates involving a synergetic, technocentric approach suggest that it may take around 10,000 years before the planet can be parallel to that of Earth and where humans can live in open systems (Fogg, 1995). Hence, for the foreseeable future, any missions will require habitation within small confined habitats with high biomass to atmospheric mass ratios, thereby requiring that all wastes be recycled. Processing of the wastes will ensure predictability and reliability of the ecosystem and reduce resupply logistics. Solid wastes, though smaller in volume and mass than the liquid wastes, contain more than 90% of the essential elements required by humans and plants.
Technical Paper

On-Orbit and Ground Performance of the PGBA Plant Growth Facility

1997-07-01
972366
PGBA, a plant growth facility developed for commercial space biotechnology research, successfully grew a total of 50 plants (6 species) during 10 days aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-77), and has reflown aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-83 for 4 days and STS-94 for 16 days) with 55 plants and 10 species. The PGBA life support system provides atmospheric, thermal, and humidity control as well as lighting and nutrient supply in a 33 liter microgravity plant growth chamber. The atmosphere treatment system removes ethylene and other hydrocarbons, actively controls CO2 replenishment, and provides passive O2 control. Temperature and humidity are actively controlled.
Technical Paper

Waste Incineration for Resource Recovery in a Bioregenerative Life Support System

1997-07-01
972429
For the last two years, the University of Utah and Reaction Engineering International, in cooperation with NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), have been developing a waste incineration system for regenerative life support systems. The system is designed to burn inedible plant biomass and human waste. The goal is to obtain an exhaust gas clean enough to recycle to either the plant or human habitats. The incineration system, a fluidized bed reactor, has been designed for a 4-person mission. This paper will detail the design of the units. In addition, results will be presented from testing at the University of Utah. Presently, the unit has been shipped to Ames Research Center for more tests prior to delivery to Johnson Space Center for testing in a 90-day, 4-person test.
Technical Paper

Concept for a Life Support System Testbed in Space

1994-06-01
941450
The concept of a general purpose life support system testbed for use in space grew out of considerations arising from the recent consolidation of NASA's Advanced Life Support (ALS) Systems programs. Both the physical-chemical and the biological approaches to regenerative life support will require significant amounts of in-space testing in order to prepare for the final development of systems for human life support. Considerations of the technical requirements and rationales for in-space testing has led to the concept of a common testbed that will allow faster and less expensive long duration tests.
Technical Paper

The CELSS Antarctic Analog Project and Validation of Assumptions and Solutions Regarding Regenerative Life Support Technologies

1996-07-01
961589
The CELSS Antarctic Analog Project (CAAP) is providing NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) with an understanding of the complex and interrelated elements of life support and habitation, both on the Antarctic continent and in future missions to space. CAAP is providing a method for challenging the assumption upon which the application of regenerative life support systems are based and thus is providing a heritage of reliability and dependable function. Currently in the early stages of the project, CAAP is laying a path in addressing system engineering issues, technology selection and integrated operation under a set of relevant and real mission constraints. Recent products include identification of energy as a critical limiting resource in the potential application of regenerative systems. Alternatives to the traditional method of life support system development and energy management have been developed and are being implemented in the CAAP testbed.
Technical Paper

Design, Calibration and Implementation of a Biosynthetic Water Vapor Source

1994-06-01
941594
In efforts to generate a modeling and simulation system for the environmental control and life support system for a small plant growth chamber, the requirement for a biosynthetic water vapor source was found. The water vapor source was designed to inject a known and controlled rate of water vapor into the laboratory version of NASA Ames Research Center's Salad Machine. The rationale for a water vapor source, the design of the source device, the procedures and results of calibration and the method of integrating and utilizing the device with the Salad Machine are described.
Technical Paper

Development of an Advanced Life Support Testbed at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

1994-06-01
941610
This paper presents a description of the Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) Antarctic Analog Project (CAAP) and its functionality as a pilot study for the design of a future Lunar-Mars habitat. A description of the prototype development testbed, located at Ames Research, is provided as well as an analysis of the key design parameters. The CAAP program is tasked with the development of a life support testbed at the South Pole. This facility will include food production, waste processing, and in situ energy production capabilities. The testbed will provide NASA with a remote facility located in an extremely harsh environment which has been designed to provide a useful analog to the deployment of a future Lunar-Martian habitat. NASA's program goals are the operational testing of life support technologies and the conduct of scientific studies to facilitate future technology selection and system design.
Technical Paper

Issues in the Development of Automatic Thermal Control for Portable Life Support Systems

1994-06-01
941383
Long-duration, frequent extravehicular activity (EVA) will require automatic thermal control and improved thermo-mechanical design of portable life support system (PLSS) packs and suits. This paper addresses the control problem in EVA, previous attempts to develop automatic control, and relevant issues in human thermoregulation and is directed toward the development of a generalized computer simulation test bed for the investigation of alternative PLSS control strategies and designs.
Technical Paper

Options for Transpiration Water Removal in a Crop Growth System Under Zero Gravity Conditions

1991-07-01
911423
The operation of a crop growth system in micro-gravity is an important part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Closed Ecological Life Support System development program. Maintaining densely arrayed plants in a closed environment imposed to induce high growth rates must be expected to result in substantial levels of water transpiration rate. Since the environmental air is recirculated, the transpiration water must be removed. In an operating CELSS, it is expected that this water will provide potable water for use of the crew. There is already considerable knowledge about water removal from crew environmental air during orbital and transfer activities, and the difference between the conditions of the described requirement and the conditions for which experience has been gained is the quantities involved and the reliability implications due to the required periods of operation.
Technical Paper

Starship Life Support

2009-07-12
2009-01-2466
The design and mass cost of a starship and its life support system are investigated. The mission plan for a multigenerationai interstellar voyage to colonize a new planet is used to describe the starship design, including the crew habitat, accommodations, and life support. Cost is reduced if a small crew travels slowly and lands with minimal equipment. The first human interstellar colonization voyage will probably travel about 10 light years and last hundreds of years. The required travel velocity is achievable by nuclear propulsion using near future technology. To minimize mission mass, the entire starship would not decelerate at the destination. Only small descent vehicles would land on the destination planet. The most mass efficient colonization program would use colonizing crews of only a few dozen. Highly reliable life support can be achieved by providing selected spares and full replacement systems.
Technical Paper

Spacesuit Cooling on the Moon and Mars

2009-07-12
2009-01-2418
NASA is planning to return to the moon and then explore Mars. A permanent base at the south pole of the moon will be the test bed for Mars. At the moon base, two crewmembers are expected to conduct Extravehicular Activity (EVA) six days every week. Current spacesuits are cooled by the sublimation of water ice into vacuum. A single 7 hour EVA near the lunar equator in daylight can expend up to 5 kilograms of water. Because of the high cost of transporting spacesuit cooling water to the moon, the water for one EVA could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The lunar south pole and Mars have low surface temperatures that make cooling much easier than at the lunar equator. Alternate cooling methods and staying in cool environments can reduce or eliminate the use of water for spacesuit cooling. If cooling water is not needed, a recycling life support system can provide all the required crew water and oxygen without transporting additional water from Earth.
Technical Paper

The Dynamic Impact of EVA on Lunar Outpost Life Support

2008-06-29
2008-01-2017
Dynamic simulation of the Lunar Outpost habitat life support was undertaken to investigate the impact of Extravehicular Activity (EVA). The preparatory static analysis and some supporting data are reported in another paper. (Jones, 2008-01-2184) Dynamic simulation is useful in understanding systems interactions, buffer needs, control approaches, and responses to failures and changes. A simulation of the Lunar outpost habitat life support was developed in MATLAB/Simulink™. The simulation is modular and reconfigurable, and the components are reusable to model other physicochemical (P/C) based recycling systems. EVA impacts the Lunar Outpost life support system design by requiring a significant increase in the direct supply mass of oxygen and water and by reducing the net mass savings of using dehydrated food. The mass cost of EVA depends on the amount and difficulty of the EVA scheduled.
Technical Paper

Development of a Reduced Gravity Test Rig for Waste Management

2008-06-29
2008-01-2049
The space environment presents many challenges to the operation and functioning of life support systems. These challenges include reduced gravity, near vacuum ambient, extreme temperatures, and radiation. Proper testing and modeling of system components to account for these factors will be important for their verification. This paper describes the modeling and design of a reduced gravity test rig for waste management studies. The first investigation planned relate to the functioning of components of the Flexible Membrane Commode (FMC) currently under development at NASA Ames Research Center. The planned reduced gravity tests will be carried out in NASA's C'9 aircraft which provides approximately 25 seconds of reduced gravity per parabolic trajectory. The filling of the commode bag under the influence of a directed air flow will be studied. Simulated waste will be injected and cabin air will be used for directing the waste into the bag.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Bioregenerative and Physical/Chemical Life Support Systems

2006-07-17
2006-01-2082
Popular depictions of space exploration as well as government life support research programs have long assumed that future planetary bases would rely on small scale, closed ecological systems with crop plants producing food, water, and oxygen and with bioreactors recycling waste. In actuality, even the most advanced anticipated human life support systems will use physical/ chemical systems to recycle water and oxygen and will depend on food from Earth. This paper compares bioregenerative and physical/chemical life support systems using Equivalent System Mass (ESM), which gauges the relative cost of hardware based on its mass, volume, power, and cooling requirements. Bioregenerative systems are more feasible for longer missions, since they avoid the cost of continually supplying food.
Technical Paper

Power Management in Regenerative Life Support Systems Using Market-Based Control

2000-07-10
2000-01-2259
As a part of the systems modeling research at NASA Ames Research Center, the use of a market-based control strategy to actively manage power for a model of a regenerative life support system (LSS) is examined. Individual subsystem control agents determine power demands and develop bids to ‘buy’ or to ‘sell’ power. A higher level controller collects the bids and power requests from the individual agents, monitors overall power usage, and manages surges or spikes. The higher level controller conducts an ‘auction’ to set a trading price and then allocates power to qualified subsystems. The auction occurs every twelve minutes within the simulated LSS. This market-based power reallocation cannot come at the expense of life support function. Therefore, participation in the auction is restricted to those processes that meet certain tolerance constraints. These tolerances represent acceptable limits within which system processes can be operated.
Technical Paper

Mars Transit Life Support

2007-07-09
2007-01-3160
This paper considers the design of a life support system for transit to Mars and return to Earth. Because of the extremely high cost of launching mass to Mars, the Mars transit life support system must minimize the amount of oxygen, water, and food transported. The three basic ways to provide life support are to directly supply all oxygen and water, or to recycle them using physicochemical equipment, or to produce them incidentally while growing food using crop plants. Comparing the costs of these three approaches shows that physicochemical recycling of oxygen and water is least costly for a Mars transit mission. The long mission duration also requires that the Mars transit life support system have high reliability and maintainability. Mars transit life support cannot make use of planetary resources or gravity. It should be tested in space on the International Space Station (ISS).
Technical Paper

Breakeven Mission Durations for Physicochemical Recycling to Replace Direct Supply Life Support

2007-07-09
2007-01-3221
The least expensive life support for brief human missions is direct supply of all water and oxygen from Earth without any recycling. The currently most advanced human life support system was designed for the International Space Station (ISS) and will use physicochemical systems to recycle water and oxygen. This paper compares physicochemical to direct supply air and water life support systems using Equivalent Mass (EM). EM breakeven dates and EM ratios show that physicochemical systems are more cost effective for longer mission durations.
Technical Paper

Waste Compaction Technology Development for Human Space Exploration Missions

2007-07-09
2007-01-3265
Waste management is a critical component of life support systems for manned space exploration. Human occupied spacecraft and extraterrestrial habitats must be able to effectively manage the waste generated throughout the entire mission duration. The requirements for waste systems may vary according to specific mission scenarios but all waste management operations must allow for the effective collection, containment, processing, and storage of unwanted materials. NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle usually referred to as the CEV, will have limited volume for equipment and crew. Technologies that reduce waste storage volume free up valuable space for other equipment. Waste storage volume is a major driver for the Orion waste compactor design. Current efforts at NASA Ames Research Center involve the development of two different prototype compactors designed to minimize trash storage space.
Technical Paper

Development and Testing of a Breadboard Compactor for Advanced Waste Management Designs

2007-07-09
2007-01-3267
Waste management is a vital function of spacecraft life support systems as it is necessary to meet crew health and safety and quality of life requirements. Depending on the specific mission requirements, waste management operations can include waste collection, segregation, containment, processing, storage and disposal. For the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), addressing volume and mass constraints is paramount. Reducing the volume of trash prior to storage is a viable means to recover habitable volume, and is therefore a particularly desirable waste management function to implement in the CEV, and potentially in other spacecraft as well. Research is currently being performed at NASA Ames Research Center to develop waste compaction systems that can provide both volume and mass savings for the CEV and other missions.
Technical Paper

Development of Water Treatment Systems for Use on NASA Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM)

2006-07-17
2006-01-2012
NASA is currently developing two new human rated launch systems. They are the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM). Both of these spacecraft will require new life support systems to support the crew. These life support systems can also be designed to reduce the mass required to keep humans alive in space. Water accounts for about 80% of the mass required to keep a person alive. As a result recycling water offers a high return on investment. Recycling water can also increase mission safety by providing an emergency supply of drinking water. This paper evaluates the potential benefits of two wastewater treatment technologies that have been designed to reduce the mass of the CEV and LSAM missions. For a 3 day CEV mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this approach could reduce the mass required to provide drinking water by 65% when compared to stored water. For an 18 day Lunar mission a mass savings of 70% is possible.
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