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Technical Paper

Growth of Super-Dwarf Wheat on the Russian Space Station MIR

1996-07-01
961392
During 1995, we tested instruments and attempted a seed-to-seed experiment with Super-Dwarf wheat in the Russian Space Station Mir. Utah instrumentation included four IR gas analyzers (CO2 and H2O vapor, calculate photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration) and sensors for air and leaf (IR) temperatures, O2, pressure, and substrate moisture (16 probes). Shortly after planting on August 14, three of six fluorescent lamp sets failed; another failed later. Plastic bags, necessary to measure gas exchange, were removed. Hence, gases were measured only in the cabin atmosphere. Other failures led to manual watering, control of lights, and data transmission. The 57 plants were sampled five times plus final harvest at 90 d. Samples and some equipment (including hard drives) were returned to earth on STS-74 (Nov. 20). Plants were disoriented and completely vegetative. Maintaining substrate moisture was challenging, but the moisture probes functioned well.
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

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

Novel Regenerable Incinerator Exhaust Purification and Trace Contaminant Control System Utilizing Humidity Swings

1998-07-13
981760
This paper offers a concept for a regenerable, low-power system for purifying exhaust from a solid waste processor. The innovations in the concept include the use of a closed-loop regeneration cycle for the adsorber, which prevents contaminants from reaching the breathable air before they are destroyed, and the use of a humidity-swing desorption cycle, which uses less power than a thermal desorption cycle and requires no venting of air and water to space vacuum or planetary atmosphere. The process would also serve well as a trace contaminant control system for the air in the closed environment. A systems-level design is presented that shows how both the exhaust and air purification tasks could be performed by one processor. Data measured with a fixed-bed apparatus demonstrate the effects of the humidity swing on regeneration of the adsorbent.
Technical Paper

Development of an In-Flight Refill Unit for Replenishing Research Animal Drinking Water

1994-06-01
941283
The Spacelab Life Sciences 2 (SLS-2) mission became NASA's longest duration Shuttle mission, lasting fourteen days, when Columbia landed on November 1, 1993. Located within the Spacelab were a total of 48 laboratory rats which were housed in two Research Animal Holding Facilities (RAHFs) developed by the Space Life Sciences Payloads Office (SLSPO) at Ames Research Center. In order to properly maintain the health and well-being of these important research animals, sufficient quantities of food and water had to be available for the duration of the mission. An Inflight Refill Unit was developed by the SLSPO to replenish the animals' drinking water inflight using the Shuttle potable water system in the middeck galley as the source of additional water. The Inflight Refill Unit consists of two major subsystems, a Fluid Pumping Unit (FPU) and a Collapsible Water Reservoir (CWR).
Technical Paper

Plant Growth and Plant Environmental Monitoring Equipment on the Mir Space Station: Experience and Data from the Greenhouse II Experiment

1996-07-01
961364
A three country effort (U.S., Russia, and Bulgaria) has upgraded the plant growth facilities on the Mir Space Station and used the new facility to grow wheat for 90 days. The Svet plant-growth facility was reactivated and used in an initial experiment as part of the Shuttle/Mir program, August to November, 1995. The Svet system, used first to grow cabbage and radish during a 1990 experiment, was augmented by the addition of a U.S. developed Gas Exchange Measurement System (GEMS) that measures a range of environmental parameters plus transpiration, photosynthesis, and possibly respiration. Environmental parameters include cabin, chamber, root-zones, and leaf temperatures. Light levels, relative humidity, oxygen, and atmospheric pressure are also measured. High-accuracy water-vapor and carbon-dioxide concentrations and differences are measured using specially developed IRGA systems.
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

Direct-Interface Fusible Heat Sink Performance Tests

1994-06-01
941384
A high fidelity, direct-interface, fusible heat sink for cooling astronauts during extravehicular activity was constructed and tested. The design includes special connectors that allow the coolant loop to be directly connected to the fusible material, in this case water. Aspects tested were start-up characteristics, cooling rate, and performance during simulated heat loads. A simplified math model was used to predict the effect of increasing the effective thermal conductivity on heat sink freezing rate. An experiment was designed to measure the effective thermal conductivity of a water/Aluminum foam system, and full gravity tests were conducted to compare the freezing rates of water and water/foam systems. This paper discusses the results of these efforts.
Technical Paper

Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Reduction

1994-06-01
941398
This paper discusses the development of a Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Reduction (VPCAR) teststand and the results of an experimental program designed to evaluate the potential of the technology as a water purification process. In the experimental program the technology is evaluated based upon product water purity, water recovery rate, and power consumption. The experimental work demonstrates that the technology produces high purity product water and attains high water recovery rates at a relatively high specific power consumption. The experimental program was conducted in 3 phases. In phase I an Igepon™ soap and water mixture was used to evaluate the performance of an innovative Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk evaporator and associated demister. In phase II a phenol-water solution was used to evaluate the performance of the high temperature catalytic oxidation reactor.
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

Space Simulation in the Neutral Buoyancy Test Facility

1993-09-01
932554
Various methods have been used to simulate reduced gravity environments for space systems research and development. Neutral buoyancy has been the most universally used simulation of zero-g. This paper describes the facilities, personnel and experimental work that are associated with the Neutral Buoyancy Test Facility (NBTF) at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC). This facility provides a unique underwater environment for the researcher to simulate reduced gravity activities and evaluate the performance of space-related equipment. The NBTF's small size gives it several advantages over larger water facilities. First, a smaller crew ensures a lower overhead. Second, the facility is used for research purposes only, eliminating any scheduling conflicts with astronaut training. Lastly, the small volume of water allows the researcher to more easily vary the water temperature. This feature is ideal for investigations of astronaut thermal comfort and regulation.
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

A Pilot Scale System for Low Temperature Solid Waste Oxidation and Recovery of Water

2009-07-12
2009-01-2365
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The goals outlined in this document include extending the human presence in the solar system, culminating in the exploration of Mars. A key requirement for this effort is to identify a safe and effective method to process waste. Methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis, drying, and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this work was to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. TDA and NASA Ames Research Center have developed a pilot scale low temperature ozone oxidation system to convert organic waste to CO2 and H2O.
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

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

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

Air and Water Recycling System Development for a Long Duration Lunar Base

2006-07-17
2006-01-2191
Stored air and water will be sufficient for Crew Exploration Vehicle visits to the International Space Station and for brief missions to the moon, but an air and water recycling system will be needed to reduce cost for a long duration lunar base and for exploration of Mars. The air and water recycling system developed for the International Space Station is substantially adequate but it has not yet been used in operations and it was not designed for the much higher launch costs and reliability requirements of moon and Mars missions. Significant time and development effort, including long duration testing, is needed to provide a flawless air and water recycling system for a long duration lunar base. It would be beneficial to demonstrate air and water recycling as early as the initial lunar surface missions.
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

Microgravity Root Zone Hydration Systems

2000-07-10
2000-01-2510
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.
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