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Technical Paper

Cabin Air Quality on Board Mir and the International Space Station - A Comparison

The maintenance of the cabin atmosphere aboard spacecraft is critical not only to its habitability but also to its function. Ideally, air quality can be maintained by striking a proper balance between the generation and removal of contaminants. Both very dynamic processes, the balance between generation and removal can be difficult to maintain and control because the state of the cabin atmosphere is in constant evolution responding to different perturbations. Typically, maintaining a clean cabin environment on board crewed spacecraft and space habitats is a central function of the environmental control and life support (ECLS) system. While active air quality control equipment is deployed on board every vehicle to remove carbon dioxide, water vapor, and trace chemical components from the cabin atmosphere, perturbations associated with logistics, vehicle construction and maintenance, and ECLS system configuration influence the resulting cabin atmospheric quality.
Technical Paper

Replacement for Internal Active Thermal Control System Fluid Sample Bag Material

The International Space Station (ISS) Internal Active Thermal Control System (IATCS) uses a water based heat transport fluid with specific chemical parameters and additives for corrosion and microbial control. The fluid and hardware have experienced anomalies since activation of the United States Laboratory (USL), including chemical and possibly, microbial corrosion. The required sampling of the fluid has the crewmembers removing samples via an in-line sampling tool to perform real-time trace ammonia contamination tests using color change strips, and filling a 150 ml bag from each loop for the ground laboratory analyses. The former activity requires stable storage of the strips, and for the latter activity, it is highly desirable to return the ground sample as stable as possible. This paper describes the process for materials selection, test methods/set-up, results, and final recommendation for a replacement outer bag.
Technical Paper

Post-Flight Sampling and Loading Characterization of Trace Contaminant Control Subassembly Charcoal

Trace chemical contaminants produced by equipment offgassing and human metabolic processes are removed from the atmosphere of the International Space Station's U.S. Segment by a trace contaminant control subassembly (TCCS). The TCCS employs a combination of physical adsorption, thermal catalytic oxidation, and chemical adsorption processes to accomplish its task. A large bed of granular activated charcoal is a primary component of the TCCS. The charcoal contained in this bed, known as the charcoal bed assembly (CBA), is expendable and must be replaced periodically. Pre-flight engineering analyses based upon TCCS performance testing results established a service life estimate of 1 year. After nearly 1 year of cumulative in-flight operations, the first CBA was returned for refurbishment. Charcoal samples were collected and analyzed for loading to determine the best estimate for the CBA's service life.
Technical Paper

Cabin Air Quality Dynamics On Board the International Space Station

Spacecraft cabin air quality is influenced by a variety of factors. Beyond normal equipment offgassing and crew metabolic loads, the vehicle's operational configuration contributes significantly to overall air quality. Leaks from system equipment and payload facilities, operational status of the atmospheric scrubbing systems, and the introduction of new equipment and modules to the vehicle all influence air quality. The dynamics associated with changes in the International Space Station's (ISS ) configuration since the launch of the U.S. Segment's laboratory module, Destiny, is summarized. Key classes of trace chemical contaminants that are important to crew health and equipment performance are emphasized. The temporary effects associated with attaching each multi-purpose logistics module (MPLM) to the ISS and influence of in-flight air quality on the post-flight ground processing of the MPLM are explored.
Journal Article

Root Cause Assessment of Pressure Drop Rise of a Packed Bed of Lithium Hydroxide in the International Space Station Trace Contaminant Control System

The trace contaminant control system (TCCS) located in the International Space Station's (ISS) U.S. laboratory module employs physical adsorption, thermal catalytic oxidation, and chemical adsorption to remove trace chemical contamination produced by equipment offgassing and anthropogenic sources from the cabin atmosphere. The chemical adsorption stage, consisting of a packed bed of granular lithium hydroxide (LiOH), is located after the thermal catalytic oxidation stage and is designed to remove acid gas byproducts that may be formed in the upstream oxidation stage. While in service on board the ISS, the LiOH bed exhibited a change in flow resistance that leading to flow control difficulties in the TCCS. Post flight evaluation revealed LiOH granule size attrition among other changes. An experimental program was employed to investigate mechanisms hypothesized to contribute to the change in the packed bed's flow resistance.