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Technical Paper

Testing of an R134a Spray Evaporative Heat Sink

The NASA Glenn Research Center has been developing a spacecraft open loop spray evaporative heat sink for use in pressure environments near sea-level, where evaporative cooling of water is not effective. The working fluid is R134a, a common refrigerant used in household appliances, considered safe and non-toxic for humans. The concept uses an open loop spray of R134a impinging on a heated flat plate, through which a closed loop of hot coolant flows, having acquired the heat from spacecraft electronics boxes, the cabin heat exchanger, and other heat sources. The latent heat of evaporation cools the outside of the hot plate, and through heat conduction, reduces the temperature of the coolant. The testing at NASA Glenn has used an electrically heated cylindrical copper target to simulate the hot plate. This paper will discuss the R134a feed system, the test matrix, and test results.
Technical Paper

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

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

Design, Fabrication, and Testing of a 10 kW-hr H2-O2 PEM Fuel Cell Power System for High Altitude Balloon Applications

NASA Glenn Research Center and the Wallops Flight Facility jointly conducted a PEM fuel cell power system development effort for high altitude balloon applications. This was the first phase of NASA efforts to offer higher balloon payload power levels with extended duration mission capabilities for atmospheric science missions. At present, lead-acid batteries typically supply about 100 watts of power to the balloon payload for approximately 8 hours duration. The H2-O2 PEM fuel cell demonstration system developed for this effort can supply at least 200 watts for 48 hours duration. The system was designed and fabricated, then tested in ambient ground environments as well as in a thermal vacuum chamber to simulate operation at 75 kft. altitude. Initially, this program was planned to culminate with a demonstration flight test but no flight has been scheduled, thus far.
Technical Paper

Analysis of Direct Solar Illumination on the Backside of Space Station Solar Cells

The International Space Station (ISS) is a complex spacecraft that will take several years to assemble in orbit. During many of the assembly and maintenance procedures, the space station’s large solar arrays must be locked, which can significantly reduce power generation. To date, power generation analyses have not included power generation from the backside of the solar cells in a desire to produce a conservative analysis. This paper describes the testing of ISS solar cell backside power generation, analytical modeling, and analysis results on an ISS assembly mission.
Technical Paper

Weathering of Thermal Control Coatings

Spacecraft radiators reject heat to their surroundings. Radiators can be deployable or mounted on the body of the spacecraft. NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle is to use body mounted radiators. Coatings play an important role in heat rejection. The coatings provide the radiator surface with the desired optical properties of low solar absorptance and high infrared emittance. These specialized surfaces are applied to the radiator panel in a number of ways, including conventional spraying, plasma spraying, or as an appliqué. Not specifically designed for a weathering environment, little is known about the durability of conventional paints, coatings, and appliqués upon exposure to weathering and subsequent exposure to solar wind and ultraviolet radiation exposure. In addition to maintaining their desired optical properties, the coatings must also continue to adhere to the underlying radiator panel.
Technical Paper

Thin Film Measurement Assessment of the VPCAR Water Recovery System in Partial and Microgravity

The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system is being developed to recycle water for future NASA Exploration Missions [1,2,3,4,5]. Reduced gravity testing of the VPCAR System has been initiated to identify any potential problems with microgravity operation. Two microgravity testing campaigns have been conducted on NASA's C-9B Reduced Gravity Aircraft. These tests focused on the fluid dynamics of the unit's Wiped-Film Rotating Disk (WFRD) evaporator. The experiments used a simplified system to study the process of forming a thin film on a rotating disk. The configuration simulates the application of feed in the VPCAR's WFRD evaporator. The first round of aircraft testing, which was completed in early 2006, indicated that a problem with microgravity operation of the WFRD existed. It was shown that in reduced gravity the VPCAR wiper did not produce a uniform thin film [6]. The film was thicker near the axis of rotation where centrifugal forces are small.
Technical Paper

Development of the Compact Flash Evaporator System for Exploration

This paper will discuss the status of the Compact Flash Evaporator System (CFES) development at NASA Glenn. Three alternative heat sink technologies are being developed under Thermal Control for Advanced Capabilities within the Exploration Technology Development Program. One of them is CFES, a spray cooling concept related to the current Space Shuttle Orbiter Flash Evaporator System (FES). In the CFES concept, water is sprayed on the outside of a flat plate heat exchanger, through which flows the vehicle's primary vehicle heat transfer fluid. The steam is then exhausted to space in an open-loop system. Design, fabrication and testing of the CFES at NASA's Glenn Research Center will be reported.
Technical Paper

Measurement of Trace Water Vapor in a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly Product Stream

The International Space Station Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) uses regenerable adsorption technology to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from cabin air. CO2 product water vapor measurements from a CDRA test bed unit at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center were made using a tunable infrared diode laser differential absorption spectrometer (TILDAS) provided by NASA Glenn Research Center. The TILDAS instrument exceeded all the test specifications, including sensitivity, dynamic range, time response, and unattended operation. During the CO2 desorption phase, water vapor concentrations as low as 5 ppmv were observed near the peak of CO2 evolution, rising to levels of ∼40 ppmv at the end of a cycle. Periods of high water concentration (>100 ppmv) were detected and shown to be caused by an experimental artifact.