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Technical Paper

Modeling of Heat and Mass Transfer in a TEC-Driven Lyophilizer

2006-07-17
2006-01-2185
Dewatering of wet waste during space exploration missions is important for crew safety as it stabilizes the waste. It may also be used to recover water and serve as a preconditioning step for waste compaction. A thermoelectric cooler (TEC)- driven lyophilizer is under development at NASA Ames Research Center for this purpose. It has three major components: (i) an evaporator section where water vapor sublimes from the frozen waste, (ii) a condenser section where this water vapor deposits as ice, and (iii) a TEC section which serves as a heat pump to transfer heat from the condenser to the evaporator. This paper analyses the heat and mass transfer processes in the lyophilizer in an effort to understand the ice formation behavior in the condenser. The analysis is supported by experimental observations of ice formation patterns in two different condenser units.
Technical Paper

Carbon Production in Space from Pyrolysis of Solid Waste

2006-07-17
2006-01-2183
Pyrolysis processing of solid waste in space will inevitably lead to carbon formation as a primary pyrolysis product. The amount of carbon depends on the composition of the starting materials and the pyrolysis conditions (temperature, heating rate, residence time, pressure). Many paper and plastic materials produce almost no carbon residue upon pyrolysis, while most plant biomass materials or human wastes will yield up to 20-40 weight percent on a dry, as-received basis. In cases where carbon production is significant, it can be stored for later use to produce CO2 for plant growth. Alternatively it can be partly gasified by an oxidizing gas (e.g., CO2, H2O, O2) in order to produce activated carbon. Activated carbons have a unique capability of strongly absorbing a great variety of species, ranging from SO2 and NOx, trace organics, mercury, and other heavy metals.
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

Performance Characterization of a Temperature-Swing Adsorption Compressor for Closed-Loop Air Revitalization Based on Integrated Tests with Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reduction Assemblies

2006-07-17
2006-01-2126
CO2 removal, recovery and reduction are essential processes for a closed loop air revitalization system in a crewed spacecraft. Typically, a compressor is required to recover the low pressure CO2 that is being removed from the spacecraft in a swing bed adsorption system. This paper describes integrated tests of a Temperature-Swing Adsorption Compressor (TSAC) with high-fidelity systems for carbon dioxide removal and reduction assemblies (CDRA and Sabatier reactor). It also provides details of the TSAC operation at various CO2 loadings. The TSAC is a solid-state compressor that has the capability to remove CO2 from a low-pressure source, and subsequently store, compress, and deliver it at a higher pressure. TSAC utilizes the principle of temperature-swing adsorption compression and has no rapidly moving parts.
Technical Paper

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

2006-07-17
2006-01-2131
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

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

Potential for Recovery of Plant Macronutrients from Space Habitat Wastes for Salad Crop Production

2001-07-09
2001-01-2350
Crop production in space habitats is currently under consideration as part of an advanced life support system. The scenarios for crop production vary depending on the mission objectives. For a mission scenario such as the International Space Station (ISS), current efforts propose only salad crop production. However in order to grow salad crops, there is a need for plant nutrients (elements) such as N, P, K, Ca, etc., which constitutes about 10% of dry weight of the plant. Nitrogen and potassium are the major elements needed by salad crops and currently require resupply on Station. However, it is feasible that these macronutrients could be recovered through the waste materials generated by the crew. The proposed concepts are non-oxidative and simple in design. This paper considers the potential for reclaiming macronutrients from urine and gray water concentrates from water recovery systems.
Technical Paper

Lyophilization for Water Recovery

2001-07-09
2001-01-2348
An energy-efficient lyophilization technique is being developed to recover water from highly contaminated spacecraft waste streams. In the lyophilization process, water in an aqueous waste is frozen and then sublimed, separating the waste into a dried solid material and liquid water. This technology is ideally suited to applications such as the Mars Reference Mission, where water recovery rates approaching 100% are desirable but production of CO2 is not. Candidate wastes include feces, concentrated brines from water processors, and other solid wastes that contain water. To operate in microgravity, and to minimize power consumption, thermoelectric heat pumps can be used in place of traditional fluid cycle heat pumps. A mathematical model of a thermoelectric lyophilizer is described and used to generate energy use and processing rate estimates.
Technical Paper

Integrated Use of Data Mining and Statistical Analysis Methods to Analyze Air Traffic Delays

2007-09-17
2007-01-3836
Linear regression is the primary data analysis method used in the development of air traffic delay models. When the data being studied does indeed have an underlying linear model, this approach would produce the best-fitting model as expected. However, it has been argued by ATM researchers [Wieland2005, Evans2004] that the underlying delay models are primarily non-linear. Furthermore, the delays being modeled often depend not only on the observable independent variables being studied but also on other variables not being considered. The traditional regression approach alone may not be best suited to study these type of problems. In this paper, we propose an alternate methodology based on partitioning the data using statistical and decision tree learning methods. We then show the utility of this model in a variety of different ATM modeling problems.
Technical Paper

Idealized Modeling and Analysis of the Shuttle Orbiter Wing Leading Edge Impact Data

2007-09-17
2007-01-3882
Some selected segments of the ascent and the on-orbit data from the Space Shuttle flight, STS114, as well as some selected laboratory test article data have been analyzed using wavelets, power spectrum and autocorrelation function. Additionally, a simple approximate noise test was performed on these data segments to confirm the presence or absence of white noise behavior in the data. This study was initially directed at characterizing the on-orbit background against which a signature due to an impact during on-orbit operation could be identified. The laboratory data analyzed here mimic low velocity impact that the Orbiter may be subjected to during the very initial stages of ascent.
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

Compaction and Drying in a Low-Volume, Deployable Commode

2007-07-09
2007-01-3264
We present a device for collecting and storing feces in microgravity that is user-friendly yet suitable for spacecraft in which cabin volume and mass are constrained. On Apollo missions, the commode function was served using disposable plastic bags, which proved time-consuming and caused odor problems. On Skylab, the space shuttle, and the International Space Station, toilets have used airflow beneath a seat to control odors and collect feces. We propose to incorporate airflow into a system of self-compacting, self-drying collection and stowage bags, providing the benefits of previous commodes while minimizing mass and volume. Each collection bag consists of an inner layer of hydrophobic membrane that is permeable to air but not liquid or solid waste, an outer layer of impermeable plastic, and a collapsible spacer separating the inner and outer layers. Filled bags are connected to space vacuum, compacting and drying their contents.
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

Construction of a Water-Absorbent, Zero-G, Compactor Trash Bag

2007-07-09
2007-01-3262
The initial concepts and construction of a three layered, water-absorbent, zero-G, compactor trash bag will be described. This bag is composed of an inner wicking layer, a middle absorbent layer, and an outer containment layer. The primary properties of the wicking layer are the fast adsorption of any free liquid released within the trash bag and the lateral spreading of this liquid around the interior of the bag. The absorbent layer sequesters and stores the liquid captured by the wicking layer. It need not be as fast acting as the wicking layer, but has to have a much larger capacity. The containment layer allows for handling of the bag without worry of releasing the contents. The combined strength of the three layers needs to be sufficient to withstand the forces exerted by the compactor.
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

Artificial Gravity for Mars Missions: The Different Design and Development Options

2000-07-10
2000-01-2246
One of the major impediments to human Mars missions is the development of appropriate countermeasures for long term physiological response to the micro-gravity environment. A plethora of countermeasure approaches have been advanced from strictly pharmacological measures to large diameter rotating spacecraft that would simulate a 1-g environment (the latter being the most conservative from a human health perspective). The different approaches have significantly different implications not only on the overall system design of a Mars Mission Vehicle (MMV) but on the necessary earth-orbiting platform that would be required to qualify the particular countermeasure system. It is found that these different design options can be conveniently categorized in terms of the order of magnitude of the rotation diameter required (100's, 10's, 1's, 0 meters). From this, the different mass penalties associated with each category can be generally compared.
Technical Paper

Top-Level Crop Models for Advanced Life Support Analysis

2000-07-10
2000-01-2261
We have developed top-level crop models for analysis of Advanced Life Support (ALS) systems that use plants to grow food. The crops modeled are candidates for ALS use: bean (dry), lettuce, peanut, potato (white), rice, soybean, sweet potato, tomato, and wheat. The crop models are modified versions of the energy cascade crop growth model originally developed for wheat by Volk, Bugbee, and Wheeler. The models now simulate the effects of temperature, carbon dioxide level, planting density, and relative humidity on canopy gas exchange, in addition to the effects of light level and photoperiod included in the original model. The energy cascade model has also been extended to predict the times of canopy closure, grain setting (senescence), and maturity (harvest) as functions of the environmental conditions.
Technical Paper

Atmosphere Composition Control of Spaceflight Plant Growth Growth Chambers

2000-07-10
2000-01-2232
Spaceflight plant growth chambers require an atmosphere control system to maintain adequate levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen, as well as to limit trace gas components, for optimum or reproducible scientific performance. Recent atmosphere control anomalies of a spaceflight plant chamber, resulting in unstable CO2 control, have been analyzed. An activated carbon filter, designed to absorb trace gas contaminants, has proven detrimental to the atmosphere control system due to its large buffer capacity for CO2. The latest plant chamber redesign addresses the control anomalies and introduces a new approach to atmosphere control (low leakage rate chamber, regenerative control of CO2, O2, and ethylene).
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

Air and Water Recycling System Development for a Long Duration Lunar Base

2006-07-17
2006-01-2191
Stored air and water will be sufficient for Crew Exploration Vehicle visits to the International Space Station and for brief missions to the moon, but an air and water recycling system will be needed to reduce cost for a long duration lunar base and for exploration of Mars. The air and water recycling system developed for the International Space Station is substantially adequate but it has not yet been used in operations and it was not designed for the much higher launch costs and reliability requirements of moon and Mars missions. Significant time and development effort, including long duration testing, is needed to provide a flawless air and water recycling system for a long duration lunar base. It would be beneficial to demonstrate air and water recycling as early as the initial lunar surface missions.
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