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Technical Paper

Tubular Membrane Evaporator Development for the Plss

1996-07-01
961486
Current NASA space suits use porous metal plate sublimators to reject the metabolic heat generated by the astronaut into space vacuum during EVA. Relying on tubular membranes instead of the flat plate of the sublimator, a proposed alternate unit has the potential to be smaller and lighter. This work outlines the operation of the proposed tubular membrane evaporator and the evaluation of possible membrane materials for the unit.
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

Steady-State System Mass Balance for the BIO-Plex

1998-07-13
981747
A steady-state system mass balance calculation was performed to investigate design issues regarding the storage and/or processing of solid waste. In the initial stages of BIO-Plex, only a certain percentage of the food requirement will be satisfied through crop growth. Since some food will be supplied to the system, an equivalent amount of waste will accumulate somewhere in the system. It is a system design choice as to where the mass should accumulate in the system. Here we consider two approaches. One is to let solid waste accumulate in order to reduce the amount of material processing that is needed. The second is to process all of the solid waste to reduce solid waste storage and then either resupply oxygen or add physical/chemical (P/C) processors to recover oxygen from the excess carbon dioxide and water that is produced by the solid waste processor.
Technical Paper

VEVI: A Virtual Environment Teleoperations Interface for Planetary Exploration

1995-07-01
951517
Remotely operating complex robotic mechanisms in unstructured natural environments is difficult at best. When the communications time delay is large, as for a Mars exploration rover operated from Earth, the difficulties become enormous. Conventional approaches, such as rate control of the rover actuators, are too inefficient and risky. The Intelligent Mechanisms Laboratory at the NASA Ames Research Center has developed over the past four years an architecture for operating science exploration robots in the presence of large communications time delays. The operator interface of this system is called the Virtual Environment Vehicle Interface (VEVI), and draws heavily on Virtual Environment (or Virtual Reality) technology. This paper describes the current operational version of VEVI, which we refer to as version 2.0. In this paper we will describe the VEVI design philosophy and implementation, and will describe some past examples of its use in field science exploration missions.
Technical Paper

Operator Interfaces and Network-Based Participation for Dante II

1995-07-01
951518
Dante II, an eight-legged walking robot developed by the Dante project, explored the active volcanic crater of Mount Spurr in July 1994. In this paper, we describe the operator interfaces and the network-based participation methods used during the Dante II mission. Both virtual environment and multi-modal operator interfaces provided mission support for supervised control of Dante II. Network-based participation methods including message communications, satellite transmission, and a World-Wide Web server enabled remote science and public interaction. We believe that these human-machine interfaces represent a significant advance in robotic technologies for exploration.
Technical Paper

The NASA Ames Controlled Environment Research Chamber - Present Status

1994-06-01
941488
The Controlled Environment Research Chamber (CERC) at the NASA Ames Research Center was created for early-on investigation of promising new technologies for life support of advanced space exploration missions. The CERC facility is being used to address the advanced technology requirements necessary to implement an integrated working and living environment for a planetary habitat. The CERC, along with a human-powered centrifuge, a planetary terrain simulator, advanced displays, and a virtual reality capability, is able to develop and demonstrate applicable technologies for future planetary exploration. There will be several robotic mechanisms performing exploration tasks external to the habitat that will be controlled through the virtual environment to provide representative workloads for the crew.
Technical Paper

Characterization of Condensate from the Research Animal Holding Facility (RAHF)

1994-06-01
941506
Life Sciences research on Space Station will utilize rats to study the effects of the microgravity environment on mammalian physiology and to develop countermeasures to those effects for the health and safety of the crew. The animals will produce metabolic water which must be reclaimed to minimize logistics support. The condensate from the Research Animal Holding Facility (RAHF) flown on Spacelab Life Sciences-2 (SLS-2) in October 1993 was used as an analog to determine the type and quantity of constituents which the Space Station (SS) water reclamation system will have to process. The most significant organics present in the condensate were 2-propanol, glycerol, ethylene glycol, 1,2-propanediol, acetic acid, acetone, total proteins, urea and caprolactam while the most significant inorganic was ammonia. Microbial isolates included Xanthomonas, Sphingobacterium, Pseudomonas, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Chrysosporium.
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

Development of Experiment Kits for Processing Biological Samples In-Flight on SLS-2

1994-06-01
941288
The Spacelab Life Sciences-2 (SLS-2) mission provided scientists with the unique opportunity of obtaining inflight rodent tissue and blood samples during a 14-day mission flown in October, 1993. In order to successfully obtain these samples, Ames Research Center's Space Life Sciences Payloads Office has developed an innovative, modular approach to packaging the instruments used to obtain and preserve the inflight tissue and blood samples associated with the hematology experiments on SLS-2. The design approach organized the multitude of instruments into 12 different 5x6x1 inch kits which were each used to accomplish a particular experiment functional objective on any given day during the mission. The twelve basic kits included blood processing, isotope and erythropoietin injection, body mass measurement, and microscope slides.
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

The General Purpose Work Station, A Spacious Microgravity Workbench

1992-07-01
921394
The General Purpose Work Station (GPWS) is a laboratory multi-use facility, as demonstrated during the Spacelab Life Sciences 1 (SLS-1) flight. The unit provided particulate containment under varying conditions, served as an effective work space for manipulating live animals, e.g., rats, served as a containment facility for fixatives, and was proposed for use to conduct in-flight maintenance during connector pin repair. The cabinet has a front door large enough to allow installation of a full-size microscope in-flight and is outfitted with a side window to allow delivery of items into the cabinet without exposure to the spacelab atmosphere. Additional support subsystems include inside cabinet mounting, surgical glove fine manipulations capability, and alternating or direct current power supply for experiment equipment, as will be demonstrated during Spacelab J.
Technical Paper

Lunar Base Life Support Failure Analysis and Simulation

2009-07-12
2009-01-2482
Dynamic simulation of the lunar outpost habitat life support was undertaken to investigate the impact of life support failures and to investigate possible responses. Some preparatory static analysis for the Lunar Outpost life support model, an earlier version of the model, and an investigation into the impact of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) were reported previously. (Jones, 2008-01-2184, 2008-01-2017) The earlier model was modified to include possible resupply delays, power failures, recycling system failures, and atmosphere and other material storage failures. Most failures impact the lunar outpost water balance and can be mitigated by reducing water usage. Food solids and nitrogen can be obtained only by resupply from Earth. The most time urgent failure is a loss of carbon dioxide removal capability. Life support failures might be survivable if effective operational solutions are provided in the system design.
Technical Paper

Pyrolysis of Mixed Solid Food, Paper, and Packaging Wastes

2008-06-29
2008-01-2050
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

Development Status of a Low-Power CO2 Removal and Compression System for Closed-Loop Air Revitalization

2008-06-29
2008-01-2095
The “low power-CO2 removal (LPCOR) system” is an advanced air revitalization system that is under development at NASA Ames Research Center. The LPCOR utilizes the fundamental design features of the ‘four bed molecular sieve’ (4BMS) CO2 removal technology of the International Space Station (ISS). LPCOR improves power efficiency by replacing the desiccant beds of the 4BMS with a membrane dryer and a state-of-the-art, structured adsorbent device that collectively require 25% of the thermal energy required by the 4BMS desiccant beds for regeneration. Compared to the 4BMS technology, it has the added functionality to deliver pure, compressed CO2 for oxygen recovery. The CO2 removal and recovery functions are performed in a two-stage adsorption compressor. CO2 is removed from the cabin air and partially compressed in the first stage. The second stage performs further compression and delivers the compressed CO2 to a reduction unit such as a Sabatier reactor for oxygen recovery.
Technical Paper

Modeling of Heat and Mass Transfer in a TEC-Driven Lyophilizer

2006-07-17
2006-01-2185
Dewatering of wet waste during space exploration missions is important for crew safety as it stabilizes the waste. It may also be used to recover water and serve as a preconditioning step for waste compaction. A thermoelectric cooler (TEC)- driven lyophilizer is under development at NASA Ames Research Center for this purpose. It has three major components: (i) an evaporator section where water vapor sublimes from the frozen waste, (ii) a condenser section where this water vapor deposits as ice, and (iii) a TEC section which serves as a heat pump to transfer heat from the condenser to the evaporator. This paper analyses the heat and mass transfer processes in the lyophilizer in an effort to understand the ice formation behavior in the condenser. The analysis is supported by experimental observations of ice formation patterns in two different condenser units.
Technical Paper

Carbon Production in Space from Pyrolysis of Solid Waste

2006-07-17
2006-01-2183
Pyrolysis processing of solid waste in space will inevitably lead to carbon formation as a primary pyrolysis product. The amount of carbon depends on the composition of the starting materials and the pyrolysis conditions (temperature, heating rate, residence time, pressure). Many paper and plastic materials produce almost no carbon residue upon pyrolysis, while most plant biomass materials or human wastes will yield up to 20-40 weight percent on a dry, as-received basis. In cases where carbon production is significant, it can be stored for later use to produce CO2 for plant growth. Alternatively it can be partly gasified by an oxidizing gas (e.g., CO2, H2O, O2) in order to produce activated carbon. Activated carbons have a unique capability of strongly absorbing a great variety of species, ranging from SO2 and NOx, trace organics, mercury, and other heavy metals.
Technical Paper

Fluid Dynamics Assessment of the VPCAR Water Recovery System in Partial and Microgravity

2006-07-17
2006-01-2131
The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system is being developed to recycle water for future NASA Exploration Missions. Testing was recently conducted on NASA's C-9B Reduced Gravity Aircraft to determine the microgravity performance of a key component of the VPCAR water recovery system. Six flights were conducted to evaluate the fluid dynamics of the Wiped-Film Rotating Disk (WFRD) distillation component of the VPCAR system in microgravity, focusing on the water delivery method. The experiments utilized a simplified system to study the process of forming a thin film on a disk similar to that in the evaporator section of VPCAR. Fluid issues are present with the current configuration, and the initial alternative configurations were only partial successful in microgravity operation. The underlying causes of these issues are understood, and new alternatives are being designed to rectify the problems.
Technical Paper

Characterization of an Integral Thermal Protection and Cryogenic Insulation Material for Advanced Space Transportation Vehicles

2000-07-10
2000-01-2236
NASA’s planned advanced space transportation vehicles will benefit from the use of integral/conformal cryogenic propellant tanks which will reduce the launch weight and lower the earth-to-orbit costs considerably. To implement the novel concept of integral/conformal tanks requires developing an equally novel concept in thermal protection materials. Providing insulation against reentry heating and preserving propellant mass can no longer be considered separate problems to be handled by separate materials. A new family of materials, Superthermal Insulation (STI), has been conceived and investigated by NASA’s Ames Research Center to simultaneously provide both thermal protection and cryogenic insulation in a single, integral material. The present paper presents the results of a series of proof-of-concept tests intended to characterize the thermal performance of STI over a range of operational conditions representative of those which will be encountered in use.
Technical Paper

Reactive Carbon from Life Support Wastes for Incinerator Flue Gas Cleanup

2000-07-10
2000-01-2283
This paper presents the results from a joint research initiative between NASA Ames Research Center and Lawrence Berkeley National lab. The objective of the research is to produce activated carbon from life support wastes and to use the activated carbon to adsorb and chemically reduce the NOx and SO2 contained in incinerator flue gas. Inedible biomass waste from food production is the primary waste considered for conversion to activated carbon. Results to date show adsorption of both NOx and SO2 in activated carbon made from biomass. Conversion of adsorbed NOx to nitrogen has also been observed.
Technical Paper

Integrated Systems Testing of Spacecraft

2007-07-09
2007-01-3144
How much integrated system level test should be performed on a spacecraft before it is launched? Although sometimes system test is minimized, experience shows that systems level testing should be thorough and complete. Reducing subsystem testing is a less dangerous way to save cost, since it risks finding problems later in system test, while cutting systems test risks finding them even later on orbit. Human-rated spacecraft test planning is informal, subjective, and inconsistent, and its extent is often determined by the decision maker's risk tolerance, decision-making style, and long-term or short-term view. Decisions on what to test should be guided by an overall mission cost-benefit analysis, similar to the risk analysis used to guide development efforts.
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