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Technical Paper

Weathering of Thermal Control Coatings

2007-07-09
2007-01-3020
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

Space Suit Radiator Performance in Lunar and Mars Environments

2007-07-09
2007-01-3275
During an ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA), both the heat generated by the astronaut's metabolism and that produced by the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) must be rejected to space. The heat sources include the heat of adsorption of metabolic CO2, the heat of condensation of water, the heat removed from the body by the liquid cooling garment and the load from the electrical components. Although the sublimator hardware to reject this load weighs only 1.58 kg (3.48 lbm), an additional 3.6 kg (8 lbm) of water are loaded into the unit, most of which is sublimated and lost to space, thus becoming the single largest expendable during an eight-hour EVA. Using a radiator to reject heat from the astronaut during an EVA can reduce the amount of expendable water consumed in the sublimator. Last year we reported on the design and initial operational assessment tests of a novel radiator designated the Radiator And Freeze Tolerant heat eXchanger (RAFT-X).
Technical Paper

Performance Testing of an Advanced Lightweight Freezable Radiator

2006-07-17
2006-01-2232
During extravehicular activities (EVAs) it is crucial to keep the astronaut comfortable. Currently, a sublimator rejects to space both the astronaut's metabolic heat and that produced by the Portable Life Support System. In doing so, it consumes up to 3.6 kg (8 lbm) of water; the single largest expendable during an eight-hour EVA. While acceptable for low earth orbit, resupply for moon and interplanetary missions will be too costly. Fortunately, the amount of water consumed can be greatly reduced if most of the heat load is radiated to space. However, the radiator must reject heat at the same rate that it is generated to prevent heat stroke or frostbite. Herein, we report on a freezable radiator and heat exchanger to proportionally control the heat rejection rate.
Technical Paper

Freeze Tolerant Radiator for Advanced EMU

2004-07-19
2004-01-2263
The current Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) system provides thermal control using a sublimator to reject both the heat produced by the astronaut's metabolic activity as well as the heat produced by the Portable Life Support Unit (PLSS). This sublimator vents up to eight pounds of water each Extravehicular Activity (EVA). If this load could be radiated to space, the amount of water that would need to be sublimated could be greatly reduced. There is enough surface area on the EMU that almost all of the heat can be rejected by radiation. Radiators, however, reject heat at a relatively constant rate, while the astronaut generates heat at a variable rate. To accommodate this variable heat load, NASA is developing a new freeze tolerant radiator where the tubes can selectively freeze to “turn down” the radiator and adjust to the heat rejection requirement. This radiator design significantly reduces the amount of expendable water needed for the sublimator.
Technical Paper

Lightweight, Flexible, and Freezable Heat Pump/Radiator for EVA Suits

2008-06-29
2008-01-2112
We have completed preliminary tests that show the feasibility of an innovative concept for a spacesuit thermal control system using a lightweight, flexible heat pump/radiator. The heat pump/radiator is part of a regenerable LiCI/water absorption cooling device that absorbs an astronaut's metabolic heat and rejects it to the environment via thermal radiation at a relatively high temperature. We identified key design specifications for the system, demonstrated that it is feasible to fabricate the flexible radiator, measured the heat rejection capability of the radiator, and assessed the effects on overall mass of the PLSS. We specified system design features that will enable the flexible absorber/radiator to operate in a wide range of space exploration environments. The materials used to fabricate the flexible absorber/radiator samples were all found to be low off-gassing and many have already been qualified for use in space.
Technical Paper

Overview of NASA's Thermal Control System Development for Exploration Project

2009-07-12
2009-01-2436
NASA's Constellation Program includes the Orion, Altair, and Lunar Surface Systems (LSS) project offices. The first two elements, Orion and Altair, are manned space vehicles while the third element is broader and includes several subelements including Rovers and a Lunar Habitat. The upcoming planned missions involving these systems and vehicles include several risks and design challenges. Due to the unique thermal environment, many of these risks and challenges are associated with the vehicles' thermal control system. NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) includes the Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP). ETDP consists of several technology development projects. The project chartered with mitigating the aforementioned risks and design challenges is the Thermal Control System Development for Exploration Project.
Technical Paper

Advanced Design Heat Pump/Radiator for EVA Suits

2009-07-12
2009-01-2406
Absorption cooling using a lithium chloride/water heat pump can enable lightweight and effective thermal control for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits without venting water to the environment. The key components in the system are an absorber/radiator that rejects heat to space and a flexible evaporation cooling garment that absorbs heat from the crew member, This paper describes progress in the design, development, and testing of the absorber/radiator and evaporation cooling garment. New design concepts and fabrication approaches will significantly reduce the mass of the absorber/radiator. We have also identified materials and demonstrated fabrication approaches for production of a flexible evaporation cooling garment, Data from tests of the system's modular components have validated the design models and allowed predictions of the size and weight of a complete system.
Technical Paper

Proof of Concept High Lift Heat Pump for a Lunar Base

1998-07-13
981683
When a permanent human outpost is established on the Moon, various methods may be used to reject the heat generated by the base. One proposed concept is the use of a heat pump operating with a vertical, flow-through thermal radiator mounted on a Space Station type habitation module [1]. Since the temperature of the lunar surface varies over the day, the vertical radiator sink temperatures can reach much higher levels than the comfort and even survivability requirements of a habitation module. A high temperature lift heat pump will not only maintain a comfortable habitation module temperature, but will also decrease the size of the radiators needed to reject the waste heat. Thus, the heat pump will also decrease the mass of the entire thermal system. Engineers at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) have tested a High Lift Heat Pump design and are developing the next generation heat pump based on information and experience gained from this testing.
Technical Paper

Orbiter Flash Evaporator: Flight Experience and Improvements

1997-07-01
972262
The Flash Evaporator Subsystem (FES) provides active cooling for the Shuttle Orbiter vehicle during the ascent and re-entry phases of the flight and provides supplemental cooling to the radiators while on-orbit. This paper describes the design and operation of the FES and summarizes the operational flight experience to date. As the fleet of orbiters grows older, contamination and corrosion are two issues on which attention has focused. A discussion of these conditions and the subsequent design changes and operational workarounds will be summarized.
Technical Paper

Zero-Venting, Regenerable, Lightweight Heat Rejection for EVA Suits

2005-07-11
2005-01-2974
Future space exploration missions will require a lightweight spacesuit that expends no consumables. This paper describes the design and performance of a prototype heat rejection system that weighs less than current systems and vents zero water. The system uses regenerable LiCl/water absorption cooling. Absorption cooling boosts the heat absorbed from the crew member to a high temperature for rejection to space from a compact, non-venting radiator. The system is regenerated by heating to 100°C for two hours. The system provides refrigeration at 17°C and rejects heat at temperatures greater than 50°C. The overall cooling capacity is over 100 W-hr/kg.
Journal Article

Design Description and Initial Characterization Testing of an Active Heat Rejection Radiator with Digital Turn-Down Capability

2009-07-12
2009-01-2419
NASA's proposed lunar lander, Altair, will be exposed to vastly different external temperatures following launch till its final destination on the moon. In addition, the heat rejection is lowest at the lowest environmental temperatures (0.5 kW @ 4K) and highest at the highest environmental temperature (4.5 kW @ 215K). This places a severe demand on the radiator design to handle these extreme turn-down requirements. A radiator with digital turn-down capability is currently under study at JPL as a robust means to meet the heat rejection demands and provide freeze protection while minimizing mass and power consumption. Turndown is achieved by independent control of flow branches with isolating latch valves and a gear pump to evacuate the isolated branches. A bench-top test was conducted to characterize the digital radiator concept. Testing focused on the demonstration of proper valve sequencing to achieve turn-down and recharge of flow legs.
Journal Article

A Freezable Heat Exchanger for Space Suit Radiator Systems

2008-06-29
2008-01-2111
During an ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA), both the heat generated by the astronaut's metabolism and that produced by the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) must be rejected to space. The heat sources include the heat of adsorption of metabolic CO2, the heat of condensation of water, the heat removed from the body by the liquid cooling garment, the load from the electrical components and incident radiation. Although the sublimator hardware to reject this load weighs only 1.58 kg (3.48 lbm), an additional 3.6 kg (8 lbm) of water are loaded into the unit, most of which is sublimated and lost to space, thus becoming the single largest expendable during an eight-hour EVA. Using a radiator to reject heat from the astronaut during an EVA can reduce the amount of expendable water consumed in the sublimator. Radiators have no moving parts and are thus simple and highly reliable. However, past freezable radiators have been too heavy.
Technical Paper

First Lunar Outpost Extravehicular Life Support System Evaluation

1993-07-01
932188
A preliminary evaluation of several portable life support system (PLSS) concepts which could be used during the First Lunar Outpost (FLO) mission extravehicular activities (EVA's) has been performed. The weight, volume and consumables characteristics for the various PLSS concepts were estimated. Thermal effects of day and night EVA's on PLSS consumables usage and hardware requirements were evaluated. The benefit of adding a radiator and the total PLSS weight to be carried by the astronaut were also evaluated for each of the concepts. The results of the evaluation were used to provide baseline weight, volume and consumables characteristics of the PLSS to be used on the 45 day FLO mission. The benefit of radiators was shown to be substantial. Considerable consumables savings were predicted for EVA schedules with a high concentration of nighttime EVA's versus daytime EVA's.
Technical Paper

High Temperature Lift Heat Pump Refrigerant and Thermodynamic Cycle Selection

1994-06-01
941272
This paper describes the process and analysis used to select a refrigerant and thermodynamic cycle as the basis of a vapor compression heat pump requiring a high temperature lift. Use of a vapor compression heat pump versus other types was based on prior work performed for the Electric Power Research Institute. A high lift heat pump is needed to enable a thermal control system to remove heat down to 275K from a habitable volume when the external thermal environment is severe. For example, a long term habitat will reject heat from a space radiator to a 325K environment. The first step in the selection process was to perform an optimization trade study, quantifying the effect of radiator operating temperature and heat pump efficiency on total system mass; then, select the radiator operating temperature corresponding to the lowest system mass. Total system mass included radiators, all heat pump components and the power supply system.
Technical Paper

Ultralight Fabric Reflux Tube (UFRT) Thermal/Vacuum Test

1996-07-01
961455
Spacecraft thermal control systems are essential to provide the necessary thermal environment for the crew and to ensure that the equipment functions adequately on space missions. The Ultralight Fabric Reflux Tube (UFRT) was developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a lightweight radiator concept to be used on planetary surface-type missions (e.g., Moon, Mars). The UFRT consists of a thin-walled tube (acting as the fluid boundary), overwrapped with a low-mass ceramic fabric (acting as the primary pressure boundary). The tubes are placed in an array in the vertical position with the evaporators at the lower end. Heat is added to the evaporators, which vaporizes the working fluid. The vapor travels to the condenser end section and condenses on the inner wall of the thin-walled tube. The resulting latent heat is radiated to the environment. The fluid condensed on the tube wall is then returned to the evaporator by gravity.
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