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Technical Paper

Results and Analysis from Reduced Gravity Experiments of the Flexible Membrane Commode Apparatus

2009-07-12
2009-01-2344
Two separate experimental rigs used in tests on NASA and Zero-G Corporation aircrafts flying low-gravity trajectories, and in the NASA 2.2 Second Drop Tower have been developed to test the functioning of the Flexible Membrane Commode (FMC) concept under reduced gravity conditions. The first rig incorporates the flexible, optically opaque membrane bag and the second rig incorporates a transparent chamber with a funnel assembly for evacuation that approximates the size of the membrane bag. Different waste dispensers have been used including a caulking gun and flexible hose assembly, and an injection syringe. Waste separation mechanisms include a pair of wire cutters, an iris mechanism, as well as discrete slug injection. The experimental work is described in a companion paper. This paper focuses on the obtained results and analysis of the data.
Technical Paper

Assessment of Cognitive Abilities in Simulated Space Ascent Environments

2009-07-12
2009-01-2425
The cognitive abilities of some astronauts are affected during spaceflight. We investigated whether a simulated space flight ascent environment, including vibration and 3.8 Gx ascent forces, would result in cognitive deficits detectable by the WinSCAT test battery. Eleven participants were administered the computerized cognitive test battery, a workload rating questionnaire and a subjective state questionnaire before and after a combination of acceleration plus vibration conditions. The acceleration plus vibration exposure resulted in significant self-reports of physical discomfort but did not significantly affect cognitive test battery scores. We discuss ways in which a cognitive assessment tool could be made more sensitive to subtle cognitive changes relevant to astronaut performance.
Technical Paper

Boundary-Layer Transition and Global Skin Friction Measurement with an Oil-Fringe Imaging Technique

1993-09-01
932550
A new oil-fringe imaging skin friction (FISF) technique to measure skin friction on wind tunnel models is presented. In the method used to demonstrate the technique, lines of oil are applied on surfaces that connect the intended sets of measurement points, and then a wind tunnel is run so that the oil thins and forms interference fringes that are spaced proportional to local skin friction. After a run the fringe spacings are imaged with a CCD-array digital camera and measured on a computer. Skin friction and transition measurements on a two-dimensional wing are presented and compared with computational predictions.
Technical Paper

Development and Testing of a Breadboard Compactor for Advanced Waste Management Designs

2007-07-09
2007-01-3267
Waste management is a vital function of spacecraft life support systems as it is necessary to meet crew health and safety and quality of life requirements. Depending on the specific mission requirements, waste management operations can include waste collection, segregation, containment, processing, storage and disposal. For the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), addressing volume and mass constraints is paramount. Reducing the volume of trash prior to storage is a viable means to recover habitable volume, and is therefore a particularly desirable waste management function to implement in the CEV, and potentially in other spacecraft as well. Research is currently being performed at NASA Ames Research Center to develop waste compaction systems that can provide both volume and mass savings for the CEV and other missions.
Technical Paper

Control of Effluent Gases from Solid Waste Processing Using Impregnated Carbon Nanotubes

2005-07-11
2005-01-2946
One of the major problems associated with solid waste processing technologies is effluent contaminants that are released in gaseous forms from the processes. This is a concern in both biological as well as physicochemical solid waste processing. Carbon dioxide (CO2), the major gas released, does not present a serious problem and there are currently in place a number of flight-qualified technologies for CO2 removal. However, a number of other gases, in particular NOx, SO2, NH3, and various hydrocarbons (e.g. CH4) do present health hazards to the crew members in space habitats. In the present configuration of solid waste processing in the International Space Station (ISS), some of these gases are removed by the Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS), demands a major resupply. Reduction of the resupply can be effective by using catalyst impregnated carbon nanotubes. For example, NO decomposition to N2 and O2 is thermodynamically favored.
Technical Paper

Planner-Based Control of Advanced Life Support Systems

2005-07-11
2005-01-2961
The paper describes an approach to the integration of qualitative and quantitative modeling techniques for advanced life support (ALS) systems. Developing reliable control strategies that scale up to fully integrated life support systems requires augmenting quantitative models and control algorithms with the abstractions provided by qualitative, symbolic models and their associated high-level control strategies. This will allow for effective management of the combinatorics due to the integration of a large number of ALS subsystems. By focusing control actions at different levels of detail and reactivity we can use faster, simpler responses at the lowest level and predictive but complex responses at the higher levels of abstraction. In particular, methods from model-based planning and scheduling can provide effective resource management over long time periods.
Technical Paper

A Prototype Pyrolysis / Oxidation System for Solid Waste Processing

2005-07-11
2005-01-3083
Pyrolysis is a very versatile waste processing technology which can be tailored to produce a variety of solid liquid and/or gaseous products. The main disadvantages of pyrolysis processing are: (1) the product stream is more complex than for many of the alternative treatments; (2) the product gases cannot be vented directly into the cabin without further treatment because of the high CO concentrations. One possible solution is to combine a pyrolysis step with catalytic oxidation (combustion) of the effluent gases. This integration takes advantage of the best features of each process, which is insensitivity to product mix, no O2 consumption, and batch processing, in the case of pyrolysis, and simplicity of the product effluent stream in the case of oxidation. In addition, this hybrid process has the potential to result in a significant reduction in Equivalent System Mass (ESM) and system complexity.
Technical Paper

Air and Water System (AWS) Design and Technology Selection for the Vision for Space Exploration

2005-07-11
2005-01-2810
This paper considers system design and technology selection for the crew air and water recycling systems to be used in long duration human space exploration. The ultimate objective is to identify the air and water technologies likely to be used for the vision for space exploration and to suggest alternate technologies that should be developed. The approach is to conduct a preliminary systems engineering analysis, beginning with the Air and Water System (AWS) requirements and the system mass balance, and then to define the functional architecture, review the current International Space Station (ISS) technologies, and suggest alternate technologies.
Technical Paper

Innovative Concepts for Planetary EVA Access

2007-07-09
2007-01-3245
This study introduces several new concepts for suited EVA astronaut ingress/egress (departure and return) from a pressurized planetary surface habitat, based on use of a rear-entry suit and a suit lock or suitport. We provide insight into key operational aspects and integration issues, as well as the results of a requirements analysis and risk assessment of the concepts. The risk assessment included hazard analysis, hazard mitigation techniques, failure mode assessment, and operational risk assessment. Also included are performance and mass estimates for the egress concepts, and concepts for integration of the egress concepts with potential planetary habitat designs.
Technical Paper

Compressing Aviation Data in XML Format

2003-09-08
2003-01-3011
Design, operations and maintenance activities in aviation involve analysis of variety of aviation data. This data is typically in disparate formats making it difficult to use with different software packages. Use of a self-describing and extensible standard called XML provides a solution to this interoperability problem. While self-describing nature of XML makes it easy to reuse, it also increases the size of data significantly. A natural solution to the problem is to compress the data using suitable algorithm and transfer it in the compressed form. We found that XML-specific compressors such as Xmill and XMLPPM generally outperform traditional compressors. However, optimal use of Xmill requires of discovery of optimal options to use while running Xmill. Manual discovery of optimal setting can require an engineer to experiment for weeks.
Technical Paper

Development Status of the VPCAR Water Processor Assembly

2003-07-07
2003-01-2626
The purification of waste water is a critical element of any long-duration space mission. The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system offers the promise of a technology requiring low quantities of expendable material that is suitable for exploration missions. NASA has funded an effort to produce an engineering development unit specifically targeted for integration into the NASA Johnson Space Center's Integrated Human Exploration Mission Simulation Facility (INTEGRITY) formally known in part as the Bioregenerative Planetary Life Support Test Complex (Bio-Plex) and the Advanced Water Recovery System Development Facility. The system includes a Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk (WFRD) evaporator redesigned with micro-gravity operation enhancements, which evaporates wastewater and produces water vapor with only volatile components as contaminants. Volatile contaminants, including organics and ammonia, are oxidized in a catalytic reactor while they are in the vapor phase.
Technical Paper

Component-based Control System for the Rotating-Disk Analytical System (R-DAS)

2003-07-07
2003-01-2529
The Rotating Disk Analytical System (R-DAS) is an in-situ, bio-analytical technology, which utilizes a micro-fluidic disk with similar form factor as an audio compact disc to enhance and augment microgravity-based cellular and molecular biology research. The current micro-fluidic assay performs live cell/dead cell analysis using fluorescent microscopy. Image acquisition and analysis are performed for each of the selected microscope slide windows. All images are stored for later download and possible further post analysis. The flight version of the R-DAS will occupy a double mid-deck shuttle locker or one quarter of an ISS rack. The control system for the R-DAS consists of a set of interactive software components. These components interact with one another to control disk rotation, vertical and horizontal stage motion, sample incubation, image acquisition and analysis, and human interface.
Technical Paper

Development of the Standard Interface Glovebox (SIGB) for use on Shuttle, MIR, and International Space Station

1997-07-01
972310
An innovative design that meets both Shuttle and Space Station requirements for a user-friendly, volume-efficient, portable glovebox system has been developed at Ames Research Center (ARC). The Standard Interface Glovebox (SIGB) has been designed as a two Middeck locker-sized system that mounts in a Middeck Rack Structure (MRS) or in any rack using the Standard Interface Rack (SIR) rail spacing. The MRS provides structural support for the SIGB during all aspects of the mission and is an interface consistent with NASA's desire for commonality of mechanical interfaces, allowing the SIGB to be flown on essentially any manned space platform. The SIGB provides an enclosed work volume which operates at negative pressure relative to ambient, as well as excellent lighting and ample work volume for anticipated life sciences-related experiment operations inflight.
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

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

Fundamental Biology Research During the NASA/Mir Science Program

1995-07-01
951477
A multi-discipline, multi-year collaborative spaceflight research program (NASA/Mir Science Program) has been established between the United States and Russia utilizing the capabilities of the Russian Mir Space Station and the NASA space shuttle fleet. As a key research discipline to be carried out onboard Mir, fundamental biology research encompasses three basic objectives: first, to investigate long-term effects of microgravity upon plant and avian physiology and developmental biology; second, to investigate the long-term effects of microgravity upon circadian rhythm patterns of biological systems; and third, to characterize the long-term radiation environment (internal and external) of the Russian Mir space station. The first joint U.S./Russian fundamental biology research on-board Mir is scheduled to begin in March, 1995 with the Mir mission 18 and conclude with the docking of the U.S. shuttle to Mir in June, 1995 during the STS-71, Spacelab/Mir Mission-1 (SLM-1).
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

NASA's On-line Project Information System (OPIS) Attributes and Implementation

2006-07-17
2006-01-2190
The On-line Project Information System (OPIS) is a LAMP-based (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) system being developed at NASA Ames Research Center to improve Agency information transfer and data availability, largely for improvement of system analysis and engineering. The tool will enable users to investigate NASA technology development efforts, connect with experts, and access technology development data. OPIS is currently being developed for NASA's Exploration Life Support (ELS) Project. Within OPIS, NASA ELS Managers assign projects to Principal Investigators (PI), track responsible individuals and institutions, and designate reporting assignments. Each PI populates a “Project Page” with a project overview, team member information, files, citations, and images. PI's may also delegate on-line report viewing and editing privileges to specific team members. Users can browse or search for project and member information.
Technical Paper

Protein-based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring

2006-07-17
2006-01-2177
Biomolecules exhibit specific binding and high affinity for their ligands. These properties can be exploited to produce sensitive, specific, real-time sensors for analytes that cannot be readily monitored by other methods. Several technologies for environmental monitoring using proteins are currently being developed. We discuss specific challenges to practical application of a family of protein-based sensors derived from bacterial periplasmic binding proteins. We also present recent work to address these challenges.
Technical Paper

Machine Learning for Detecting and Locating Damage in a Rotating Gear

2005-10-03
2005-01-3371
This paper describes a multi-disciplinary damage detection methodology that can aid in detecting and diagnosing a damage in a given structural system, not limited to the example of a rotating gear presented here. Damage detection is performed on the gear stress data corresponding to the steady state conditions. The normal and damage data are generated by a finite-difference solution of elastodynamic equations of velocity and stress in generalized coordinates1. The elastodynamic solution provides a knowledge of the stress distribution over the gear such as locations of stress extrema, which in turn can lead to an optimal placement of appropriate sensors over the gear to detect a potential damage. The damage detection is performed by a multi-function optimization that incorporates Tikhonov kernel regularization reinforced by an added Laplacian regularization term as used in semi-supervised machine learning. Damage is mimicked by reducing the rigidity of one of the gear teeth.
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