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Technical Paper

Control of Air Revitalization Using Plants: Results of the Early Human Testing Initiative Phase I Test

The Early Human Testing Initiative (EHTI) Phase I Human Test, performed by the Crew and Thermal Systems Division at Johnson Space Center, demonstrated the ability of a crop of wheat to provide air revitalization for a human test subject for a 15-day period. The test demonstrated three different methods for control of oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations for the human/plant system and obtained data on trace contaminants generated by both the human and plants during the test and their effects on each other. The crop was planted in the Variable Pressure Growth Chamber (VPGC) on July 24, 1995 and the test subject entered the adjoining airlock on day 17 of the wheat's growth cycle. The test subject stayed in the chamber for a total of 15 days, 1 hour and 20 minutes. Air was mixed between the plant chamber and airlock to provide oxygen to the test subject and carbon dioxide to the plants by an interchamber ventilation system.
Technical Paper

Utilizing Exploration Life Support Technology on ISS - a Bold New Approach

A new life support approach is proposed for use on the International Space Station (ISS). This involves advanced technologies for water recovery and air revitalization, tested at the Johnson Space Center (JSC), including bioprocessing, reverse-osmosis and distillation, low power carbon dioxide removal, non-expendable trace contaminant control, and carbon dioxide reduction.
Technical Paper

The Impact of Trace Contaminants on the Shuttle Orbiter Regenerative CO2 Removal System

There is a possibility that trace contaminants in the Shuttle Orbiter cabin atmosphere may chemically react with amine beads found in the Regenerative Carbon Dioxide Removal System and degrade system performance. Two contaminant compounds were exposed to the amine beads, and performance changes were measured. Acetone was tested because it is sometimes found in small but appreciable quantities in the cabin, and it has chemical properties that make it a potential poison. Halon 1301 was tested because it is the fire extinguishant, and a discharge of a Halon canister would trigger high concentrations in the cabin. Acetone was shown to be weakly and reversibly adsorbed. It does not poison the bed, and the RCRS was shown to remove small quantities of acetone. Halon was shown to be inert to the amine. It does not poison the RCRS, and is not removed by the RCRS.
Technical Paper

Testing of an Integrated Air Revitalization System

Long-duration missions in space will require regenerative air revitalization processes. Human testing of these regenerative processes is necessary to provide focus to the system development process and to provide realistic metabolic and hygiene inputs. To this end, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC), under the sponsorship of NASA Headquarters Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications, is implementing an Early Human Testing (EHT) Project. As part of this project, an integrated physicochemical Air Revitalization System (ARS) is being developed and tested in JSC's Life Support Systems Integration Facility (LSSIF). The components of the ARS include a Four-Bed Molecular Sieve (4BMS) Subsystem for carbon dioxide (CO2) removal, a Sabatier CO2 Reduction Subsystem (CRS), and a Solid Polymer Electrolyte (SPE)™ Oxygen Generation Subsystem (OGS). A Trace Contaminant Control Subsystem (TCCS) will be incorporated at a later date.
Technical Paper

SAWD II Subsystem Integration into the Variable Pressure Growth Chamber: A Systems Level Analysis Using CASE/A

The NASA Johnson Space Center has plans to integrate a Solid Amine Water Desorbed (SAWD II) carbon dioxide removal subsystem into the Variable Pressure Growth Chamber (VPGC). The SAWD II subsystem will be used to remove any excess carbon dioxide (CO2) input into the VPGC which is not assimilated by the plants growing in the chamber. An analysis of the integrated VPGC-SAWD II system was performed using a mathematical model of the system implemented in the Computer-Aided System Engineering and Analysis (CASE/A) package. The analysis consisted of an evaluation of the SAWD II subsystem configuration within the VPGC, the planned operations for the subsystem, and the overall performance of the subsystem and other VPGC subsystems. Based on the model runs, recommendations were made concerning the SAWD II subsystem configuration and operations, and the chambers' automatic CO2 injection control subsystem.
Technical Paper

Physiological Experience During Shuttle EVA

To date, 59 man-EVA's have been conducted in the Shuttle Program with minimum physiological problems or limitations. The physiological requirements for life support in the Shuttle EVA include pressure, gas composition, inspired CO2 pressure, heat- removal capability, in-suit water replacement, and caloric replacement. These requirements and their basis in verification testing or analysis are reviewed. The operational measures are identified. The suit pressure in combination with a gas composition of at least 92 percent assures that sufficient O2 pressure is available to the crewmember. The nominal suit pressure of 4.3 psi±0.1 psi was maintained during all 59 man-EVA's. The contingency suit pressure was never required to be used. The suit pressure in combination with the cabin pressure and pre-EVA denitrogenation procedures minimize the risk of altitude decompression sickness. There has been no incidence of decompression sickness during Shuttle EVA.
Technical Paper

Molecular Sieve CO2 Removal Systems for Future Missions: Test Results and Alternative Designs

Reversible adsorption on zeolite molecular sieve material allows selective removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from spacecraft air without the use of expendables. The four-bed molecular sieve (4BMS) CO2 removal subsystem chosen for use on space station is based on proven Skylab technology and provides continuous CO2 removal from the cabin atmosphere and concentration for further processing downstream or venting overboard. A 4BMS subsystem has also been chosen to remove CO2 from air in the Systems Integration Research Facility (SIRF) at NASA/Johnson Space Center (JSC). After installation in the SIRF in 1992, the subsystem underwent extensive testing in which cycle time, process air flow rate, and process air inlet CO2 composition were varied. In order to obtain performance data required for integration, the subsystem was operated under both nominal and off-nominal conditions. Results of this testing are presented.
Technical Paper

Operation of a Breadboard Liquid-Sorbent/Membrane-Contactor System for Removing Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor from Air

Processes to remove and recover carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor from air are essential for successful long-duration space missions. This paper presents results of a developmental program focused on the use of a liquid- sorbent/membrane-contactor (LSMC) system for removal of CO2 and water vapor from air. In this system, air from the spacecraft cabin atmosphere is circulated through one side of a hollow-fiber membrane contactor. On the other side of the membrane contactor is flowed a liquid sorbent, which absorbs the CO2 and water vapor from the feed air. The liquid sorbent is then heated to desorb the CO2 and water vapor. The CO2 is subsequently removed from the system as a concentrated gas stream, whereas the water vapor is condensed, producing a water stream. A breadboard system based on this technology was designed and constructed. Tests showed that the LSMC breadboard system can produce a CO2 stream and a liquid- water stream.
Technical Paper

Regenerative Life Support Systems Test Bed Performance: Lettuce Crop Characterization

Two crops of lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. Waldmann's Green) were grown in the Regenerative Life Support Systems (RLSS) Test Bed at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The RLSS Test Bed is an atmospherically closed, controlled environment facility for the evaluation of regenerative life support systems using higher plants. The chamber encloses 10.6 m2 of growth area under cool-white fluorescent lamps. Lettuce was double seeded in 480 pots, each containing about 250 cm3 of calcined-clay substrate. Each pot was irrigated with half-strength Hoagland's nutrient solution at an average total applied amount of 2.5 and 1.8 liters pot-1, respectively, over each of the two 30-day crop tests. Average environmental and cultural conditions during both tests were 23°C air temperature, 72% relative humidity, 1000 ppm carbon dioxide (CO2), 16h light/8h dark photoperiod, and 356 μmol m-2s-1 photosynthetic photon flux.
Technical Paper

Design of a Water Electrolysis Flight Experiment

Supply of oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2) by electrolyzing water in space will play an important role in meeting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) needs and goals for future space missions. Both O2 and H2 are envisioned to be used in a variety of processes including crew life support, spacecraft propulsion, extravehicular activity, electrical power generation/storage as well as in scientific experiment and manufacturing processes. Life Systems, Inc., in conjunction with NASA, has been developing an alkaline-based Static Feed Electrolyzer (SFE). During the development of the water electrolysis technology over the past 23 years, an extensive engineering and scientific data base has been assembled.
Technical Paper

Integrated Atmosphere Revitalization System Description and Test Results

Regenerative-type subsystems are being tested at JSC to provide atmosphere revitalization functions of oxygen supply and carbon dioxide (CO2) removal for a future Space Station. Oxygen is supplied by an electrolysis subsystem, developed by General Electric, Wilmington, Mass., which uses the product water from either the CO2 reduction subsystem or a water reclamation process. CO2 is removed and concentrated by an electrochemical process, developed by Life Systems, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. The concentrated CO2 is reduced in a Sabatier process with the hydrogen from the electrolysis process to water and methane. This subsystem is developed by Hamilton Standard, Windsor Locks, Conn. These subsystems are being integrated into an atmosphere revitalization group. This paper describes the integrated test configuration and the initial checkout test. The feasibility and design compatibility of these subsystems integrated into an air revitalization system is discussed.
Technical Paper

An Advanced Carbon Reactor Subsystem for Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Reduction of metabolic carbon dioxide is one of the essential steps in physiochemical air revitalization for long-duration manned space missions. Under contract with NASA Johnson Space Center, Hamilton Standard is developing an Advanced Carbon Reactor Subsystem (ACRS) to produce water and dense solid carbon from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The ACRS essentially consists of a Sabatier Methanation Reactor (SMR) to reduce carbon dioxide with hydrogen to methane and water, a gas-liquid separator to remove product water from the methane, and a Carbon Formation Reactor (CFR) to pyrolyze methane to carbon and hydrogen. The hydrogen is recycled to the SMR, while the produce carbon is periodically removed from the CFR. The SMR is well-developed, while the CFR is under development. In this paper, the fundamentals of the SMR and CFR processes are presented and results of Breadboard CFR testing are reported.
Technical Paper

First Human Testing of the Orion Atmosphere Revitalization Technology

A system of amine-based carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor sorbent in pressure-swing regenerable beds has been developed by Hamilton Sundstrand and is baselined for the Orion Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS). In two previous years at this conference, reports were presented on extensive Johnson Space Center (JSC) testing of the technology, which was performed in a representative environment with simulated human metabolic loads. The next step in developmental testing at JSC was to use real human loads in the spring of 2008.
Technical Paper

Numerical Investigation of an Optical Soot Sensor for Modern Diesel Engines

It has been extensively evidenced that modern diesel engines generate a considerable amount of soot nanoparticles. Existing soot sensors are not suitable for such nanoparticles. Current standard gravimetric techniques are extremely insensitive to fine soot particles. Soot diagnostics developed for research purposes, e.g., laser induced-incandescence, do not provide quantitative characterization, and expanded practical applications of these techniques are hardly conceivable. This paper addresses this emerging need for monitoring nano-sized soot emissions. Here, we investigated the use of polarization modulated scattering (PMS) for soot sensing in engine environments. The technique involves 1) measuring laser scattering by soot particles at multiple angles while varying the polarization states of the incident laser beam, 2) determining multiple elements of the Mueller matrix from the measured signals, and 3) inferring properties of the soot particles from these elements.
Technical Paper

Further Testing of an Amine-Based Pressure-Swing System for Carbon Dioxide and Humidity Control

In a crewed spacecraft environment, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and moisture control are crucial. Hamilton Sundstrand has developed a stable and efficient amine-based CO2 and water vapor sorbent, SA9T, that is well suited for use in a spacecraft environment. The sorbent is efficiently packaged in pressure-swing regenerable beds that are thermally linked to improve removal efficiency and minimize vehicle thermal loads. Flows are controlled with a single spool valve. This technology has been baselined for the new Orion spacecraft, but additional data was needed on the operational characteristics of the package in a simulated spacecraft environment. One unit was tested with simulated metabolic loads in a closed chamber at Johnson Space Center during the latter part of 2006. Those test results were reported in a 2007 ICES paper.
Technical Paper

Nanoscale Materials for Human Spaceflight Applications: Regenerable Carbon Dioxide Removal Using Single-wall Carbon Nanotubes

The challenges of missions to the Moon and Mars presents NASA with the need for more advanced life support systems, including better technologies for CO2 removal in spacecraft atmospheres and extravehicular mobility units (EMU). Amine-coated single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) have been proposed as a potential solution because of their high surface area and thermal conductivity. Initial research demonstrated the need for functionalization of SWCNT to obtain optimal adherence of the amine to the SWCNT support phase [1]. Recent efforts focus on the development of new methods to chemically bond amines to SWCNT. Synthesis and characterization methods for these materials are discussed and some preliminary materials characterization data are presented. The CO2 adsorption capacity for several versions of SWCNT supported amine-based CO2 scrubber materials is also determined.
Technical Paper

Development of Pressure Swing Adsorption Technology for Spacesuit Carbon Dioxide and Humidity Removal

Metabolically produced carbon dioxide (CO2) removal in spacesuit applications has traditionally been accomplished utilizing non-regenerative Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH) canisters. In recent years, regenerative Metal Oxide (MetOx) has been developed to replace the Extravehicular Mobility Unity (EMU) LiOH canister for extravehicular activity (EVA) missions in micro-gravity, however, MetOx may carry a significant weight burden for potential use in future Lunar or planetary EVA exploration missions. Additionally, both of these methods of CO2 removal have a finite capacity sized for the particular mission profile. Metabolically produced water vapor removal in spacesuits has historically been accomplished by a condensing heat exchanger within the ventilation process loop of the suit life support system.
Technical Paper

Spacesuit Radiation Shield Design Methods

Meeting radiation protection requirements during EVA is predominantly an operational issue with some potential considerations for temporary shelter. The issue of spacesuit shielding is mainly guided by the potential of accidental exposure when operational and temporary shelter considerations fail to maintain exposures within operational limits. In this case, very high exposure levels are possible which could result in observable health effects and even be life threatening. Under these assumptions, potential spacesuit radiation exposures have been studied using known historical solar particle events to gain insight on the usefulness of modification of spacesuit design in which the control of skin exposure is a critical design issue and reduction of blood forming organ exposure is desirable.
Technical Paper

Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Enhancements of Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment

As NASA is preparing to extend man's reach into space, it is expected that astronauts will be required to spend more and more time exposed to the hazards of performing Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA). One of these hazards includes the risk of the space suit bladder being penetrated by hypervelocity micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) particles. Therefore, it has become increasingly important to investigate new ways to improve the protectiveness of the current Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) against MMOD penetration. ILC Dover conducted a NASA funded study into identifying methods of improving the current EMU protection. The first part of this evaluation focused on identifying how to increase the EMU shielding, selecting materials to accomplish this, and testing these materials to determine the best lay-up combinations to integrate into the current thermal micrometeoroid garment (TMG) design.
Technical Paper

Improvement of Risk Assessment from Space Radiation Exposure for Future Space Exploration Missions

Protecting astronauts from space radiation exposure is an important challenge for mission design and operations for future exploration-class and long-duration missions. Crew members are exposed to sporadic solar particle events (SPEs) as well as to the continuous galactic cosmic radiation (GCR). If sufficient protection is not provided the radiation risk to crew members from SPEs could be significant. To improve exposure risk estimates and radiation protection from SPEs, detailed evaluations of radiation shielding properties are required. A model using a modern CAD tool ProE™, which is the leading engineering design platform at NASA, has been developed for this purpose. For the calculation of radiation exposure at a specific site, the cosine distribution was implemented to replicate the omnidirectional characteristic of the 4π particle flux on a surface.