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Journal Article

Autonomy and Intelligent Technologies for Advanced Inspection Systems

2013-09-17
2013-01-2092
This paper features a set of advanced technologies for autonomy and intelligence in advanced inspection systems of facility operations. These technologies offer a significant contribution to set a path to establish a system and an operating environment with autonomy and intelligence for inspection, monitoring and safety via gas and ambient sensors, video mining and speech recognition commands on unmanned ground vehicles and other platforms to support operational activities in the Cryogenics Test bed and other facilities and vehicles. These advanced technologies are in current development and progress and their functions and operations require guidance and formulation in conjunction with the development team(s) toward the system architecture.
Technical Paper

Single Loop for Cell Culture (SLCC) – Development and Spaceflight Qualification of a Perfusion Cell Culture System

2006-07-17
2006-01-2212
Single Loop for Cell Culture (SLCC) consists of individual, self-contained, spaceflight cell culture systems with capabilities for automated growth initiation, feeding, sub-culturing and sampling. The cells are grown and contained within a rigid cell specimen chamber (CSC). Bladder tanks provide flush and media fluid. SLCC uses active perfusion flow to provide nutrients and gas exchange, and to dilute waste products by expelling depleted media fluid into a waste bladder tank. The cells can be grown quiescently, or suspended using magnetically coupled stirrers. This paper describes the functional and safety design features, the operational modes and the spaceflight qualification processes including science validation tests, using yeast as a model organism.
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

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

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

Spacesuit Cooling on the Moon and Mars

2009-07-12
2009-01-2418
NASA is planning to return to the moon and then explore Mars. A permanent base at the south pole of the moon will be the test bed for Mars. At the moon base, two crewmembers are expected to conduct Extravehicular Activity (EVA) six days every week. Current spacesuits are cooled by the sublimation of water ice into vacuum. A single 7 hour EVA near the lunar equator in daylight can expend up to 5 kilograms of water. Because of the high cost of transporting spacesuit cooling water to the moon, the water for one EVA could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The lunar south pole and Mars have low surface temperatures that make cooling much easier than at the lunar equator. Alternate cooling methods and staying in cool environments can reduce or eliminate the use of water for spacesuit cooling. If cooling water is not needed, a recycling life support system can provide all the required crew water and oxygen without transporting additional water from Earth.
Technical Paper

Starship Life Support

2009-07-12
2009-01-2466
The design and mass cost of a starship and its life support system are investigated. The mission plan for a multigenerationai interstellar voyage to colonize a new planet is used to describe the starship design, including the crew habitat, accommodations, and life support. Cost is reduced if a small crew travels slowly and lands with minimal equipment. The first human interstellar colonization voyage will probably travel about 10 light years and last hundreds of years. The required travel velocity is achievable by nuclear propulsion using near future technology. To minimize mission mass, the entire starship would not decelerate at the destination. Only small descent vehicles would land on the destination planet. The most mass efficient colonization program would use colonizing crews of only a few dozen. Highly reliable life support can be achieved by providing selected spares and full replacement systems.
Technical Paper

Development of Water Treatment Systems for Use on NASA Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM)

2006-07-17
2006-01-2012
NASA is currently developing two new human rated launch systems. They are the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM). Both of these spacecraft will require new life support systems to support the crew. These life support systems can also be designed to reduce the mass required to keep humans alive in space. Water accounts for about 80% of the mass required to keep a person alive. As a result recycling water offers a high return on investment. Recycling water can also increase mission safety by providing an emergency supply of drinking water. This paper evaluates the potential benefits of two wastewater treatment technologies that have been designed to reduce the mass of the CEV and LSAM missions. For a 3 day CEV mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this approach could reduce the mass required to provide drinking water by 65% when compared to stored water. For an 18 day Lunar mission a mass savings of 70% is possible.
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.
Journal Article

Waste Management Technology and the Drivers for Space Missions

2008-06-29
2008-01-2047
Since the mid 1980s, NASA has developed advanced waste management technologies that collect and process waste. These technologies include incineration, hydrothermal oxidation, pyrolysis, electrochemical oxidation, activated carbon production, brine dewatering, slurry bioreactor oxidation, composting, NOx control, compaction, and waste collection. Some of these technologies recover resources such as water, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon, fuels, and nutrients. Other technologies such as the Waste Collection System (WCS - the commode) collect waste for storage or processing. The need for waste processing varies greatly depending upon the mission scenario. This paper reviews the waste management technology development activities conducted by NASA since the mid 1980s and explores the drivers that determine the application of these technologies to future missions.
Technical Paper

Development of a Reduced Gravity Test Rig for Waste Management

2008-06-29
2008-01-2049
The space environment presents many challenges to the operation and functioning of life support systems. These challenges include reduced gravity, near vacuum ambient, extreme temperatures, and radiation. Proper testing and modeling of system components to account for these factors will be important for their verification. This paper describes the modeling and design of a reduced gravity test rig for waste management studies. The first investigation planned relate to the functioning of components of the Flexible Membrane Commode (FMC) currently under development at NASA Ames Research Center. The planned reduced gravity tests will be carried out in NASA's C'9 aircraft which provides approximately 25 seconds of reduced gravity per parabolic trajectory. The filling of the commode bag under the influence of a directed air flow will be studied. Simulated waste will be injected and cabin air will be used for directing the waste into the bag.
Technical Paper

The Dynamic Impact of EVA on Lunar Outpost Life Support

2008-06-29
2008-01-2017
Dynamic simulation of the Lunar Outpost habitat life support was undertaken to investigate the impact of Extravehicular Activity (EVA). The preparatory static analysis and some supporting data are reported in another paper. (Jones, 2008-01-2184) Dynamic simulation is useful in understanding systems interactions, buffer needs, control approaches, and responses to failures and changes. A simulation of the Lunar outpost habitat life support was developed in MATLAB/Simulink™. The simulation is modular and reconfigurable, and the components are reusable to model other physicochemical (P/C) based recycling systems. EVA impacts the Lunar Outpost life support system design by requiring a significant increase in the direct supply mass of oxygen and water and by reducing the net mass savings of using dehydrated food. The mass cost of EVA depends on the amount and difficulty of the EVA scheduled.
Journal Article

Lightweight Contingency Water Recovery System Concept Development

2008-06-29
2008-01-2143
The Lightweight Contingency Water Recovery System (LWC-WRS) harvests water from various sources in or around the Orion spacecraft in order to provide contingency water at a substantial mass savings when compared to stored emergency water supplies. The system uses activated carbon treatment (for urine) followed by forward osmosis (FO). The LWC-WRS recovers water from a variety of contaminated sources by directly processing it into a fortified (electrolyte and caloric) drink. Primary target water sources are urine, seawater, and other on board vehicle waters (often referred to as technical waters). The product drink provides hydration, electrolytes, and caloric requirements for crew consumption. The system hardware consists of a urine collection device containing an activated carbon matrix (Stage 1) and an FO membrane treatment element (or bag) which contains an internally mounted cellulose triacetate membrane (Stage 2).
Technical Paper

Mars Transit Life Support

2007-07-09
2007-01-3160
This paper considers the design of a life support system for transit to Mars and return to Earth. Because of the extremely high cost of launching mass to Mars, the Mars transit life support system must minimize the amount of oxygen, water, and food transported. The three basic ways to provide life support are to directly supply all oxygen and water, or to recycle them using physicochemical equipment, or to produce them incidentally while growing food using crop plants. Comparing the costs of these three approaches shows that physicochemical recycling of oxygen and water is least costly for a Mars transit mission. The long mission duration also requires that the Mars transit life support system have high reliability and maintainability. Mars transit life support cannot make use of planetary resources or gravity. It should be tested in space on the International Space Station (ISS).
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

Waste Compaction Technology Development for Human Space Exploration Missions

2007-07-09
2007-01-3265
Waste management is a critical component of life support systems for manned space exploration. Human occupied spacecraft and extraterrestrial habitats must be able to effectively manage the waste generated throughout the entire mission duration. The requirements for waste systems may vary according to specific mission scenarios but all waste management operations must allow for the effective collection, containment, processing, and storage of unwanted materials. NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle usually referred to as the CEV, will have limited volume for equipment and crew. Technologies that reduce waste storage volume free up valuable space for other equipment. Waste storage volume is a major driver for the Orion waste compactor design. Current efforts at NASA Ames Research Center involve the development of two different prototype compactors designed to minimize trash storage space.
Technical Paper

Breakeven Mission Durations for Physicochemical Recycling to Replace Direct Supply Life Support

2007-07-09
2007-01-3221
The least expensive life support for brief human missions is direct supply of all water and oxygen from Earth without any recycling. The currently most advanced human life support system was designed for the International Space Station (ISS) and will use physicochemical systems to recycle water and oxygen. This paper compares physicochemical to direct supply air and water life support systems using Equivalent Mass (EM). EM breakeven dates and EM ratios show that physicochemical systems are more cost effective for longer mission durations.
Technical Paper

Impregnation of Catalytic Metals in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes for Toxic Gas Conversion in Life Support System

2004-07-19
2004-01-2492
The development and characterization of an innovative approach for the control and elimination of gaseous toxins using single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) promise superior performance over conventional approaches. This is due to the ability of the nanotubes to direct the selective uptake of gaseous species based on their controllable pore size, high adsorptive capacity and their effectiveness as catalyst supports for gaseous conversion. A metal impregnated SWNT material has been proposed and synthesized for removing and converting the toxins in the life support system.
Technical Paper

System-Level Analysis of Food Moisture Content Requirements for the Mars Dual Lander Transit Mission

2004-07-19
2004-01-2364
To ensure that adequate water resources are available during a mission, any net water loss from the habitat must be balanced with an equivalent amount of makeup water. For a Mars transit mission, the primary sources of makeup water will likely involve water contained in shipped tanks and in prepackaged food. As mission length increases, it becomes more cost effective to increase system water closure (recovery and generation) than to launch adequate amounts of contained water. This trend may encourage designers to specify increased water recovery in lieu of higher food moisture content. However, food palatability requirements will likely declare that prepackaged foods have a minimum hydration (averaged over all food types). The food hydration requirement may even increase with mission duration. However, availability requirements for specific emergency scenarios may declare that determined quantities of water be provided in tanks, rather than as moisture in food.
Technical Paper

Oxygen Penalty for Waste Oxidation in an Advanced Life Support System - A Systems Approach

2002-07-15
2002-01-2396
Oxidation is one of a number of technologies that are being considered for waste management and resource recovery from waste materials generated on board space missions. Oxidation processes are a very effective and efficient means of clean and complete conversion of waste materials to sterile products. However, because oxidation uses oxygen there is an “oxygen penalty” associated either with resupply of oxygen or with recycling oxygen from some other source. This paper is a systems approach to the issue of oxygen penalty in life support systems and presents findings on the oxygen penalty associated with an integrated oxidation-Sabatier-Oxygen Generation System (OGS) for waste management in an Advanced Life Support System. The findings reveal that such an integrated system can be operated to form a variety of useful products without a significant oxygen penalty.
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