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Technical Paper

A Test Plan for Sensitivity of Hollow Fiber Spacesuit Water Membrane Evaporator Systems to Potable Water Constituents, Contaminants and Air Bubbles

The Spacesuit Water Membrane Evaporator (SWME) is the baseline heat rejection technology selected for development for the Constellation lunar suit. The first SWME prototype, designed, built, and tested at Johnson Space Center in 1999 used a Teflon hydrophobic porous membrane sheet shaped into an annulus to provide cooling to the coolant loop through water evaporation to the vacuum of space. This present study describes the test methodology and planning to compare the test performance of three commercially available hollow fiber materials as alternatives to the sheet membrane prototype for SWME, in particular, a porous hydrophobic polypropylene, and two variants that employ ion exchange through non-porous hydrophilic modified Nafion. Contamination tests will be performed to probe for sensitivities of the candidate SWME elements to ordinary constituents that are expected to be found in the potable water provided by the vehicle, the target feedwater source.
Technical Paper

Thermal Conductivity of Lofty Nonwovens in Space and Planetary Vacuum Environment

For planetary exploration, new thermal insulation materials are needed to deal with unique environmental conditions presented to extravehicular activity (EVA). The thermal insulation material and system used in the existing space suit were specifically designed for low orbit environment. They are not adequate for low vacuum condition commonly found in planetary environments with a gas atmosphere. This study attempts to identify the types of lofty nonwoven thermal insulation materials and the construction parameters that yield the best performance for such application. Lofty nonwovens with different construction parameters are evaluated for their thermal conductivity performance. Three different types of fiber material: solid round fiber, hollow fiber, and grooved fiber, with various denier, needling intensity, and web density were evaluated.