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Technical Paper

Trace Contaminant Removal by Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Discharges

2008-06-29
2008-01-2100
A Plasma Air Decontamination System (PADS) is being developed by ORBITEC for trace contaminant control in spacecraft cabin air, based on non-thermal, atmospheric pressure plasma discharges that generate various highly reactive species that can react with and break down trace air contaminants. It uses a simple and modular design, and may be scaled up or down to meet the requirements of different applications. The prototype PADS reactor has successfully demonstrated removal of ammonia and other selected volatile organic carbons from air, including acetone, ethylbenzene, methane, and methylene chloride. It has the potential to replace the existing high-temperature catalytic oxidizers.
Technical Paper

Submerged Electrical Discharges for Water Decontamination and Disinfection

2007-07-09
2007-01-3175
A modular and scalable Dense Medium Plasma Water Purification Reactor was developed, which uses atmospheric-pressure electrical discharges under water to generate highly reactive species to break down organic contaminants and microorganisms. Key benefits of this novel technology include: (i) extremely high efficiency in both decontamination and disinfection; (ii) operating continuously at ambient temperature and pressure; (iii) reducing demands on the containment vessel; and (iv) requiring no consumables. This plasma based technology was developed to replace the catalytic reactor being used in the planned International Space Station Water Processor Assembly.
Technical Paper

Education Payload Operations Kit C: A Miniature, Low ESM Hobby Garden for Space-Based Educational Activities

2007-07-09
2007-01-3067
The wonder of space exploration is a sure way to catch the attention of students of all ages, and space biology is one of many sciences critical to understanding the spaceflight environment. Many systems used in the past for space-to-classroom biology activities have required extensive crew time and material resources, making space-linked education logistically and financially difficult. The new Education Payload Operations Kit C (EPO Kit C) aims to overcome obstacles to space-linked education and outreach by dramatically reducing the resources required for educational activities in plant space biology that have a true spaceflight component. EPO Kit C is expected to be flown from STS-118 to the International Space Station in June 2007. NASA and several other organizations are currently planning an outreach program to complement the flight of EPO Kit C.
Technical Paper

PRU, The Next Generation of Space Station Plant Research Systems

2003-07-07
2003-01-2527
Based upon the development experience and flight heritage of the Biomass Production System, the Plant Research Unit embodies the next generation in the evolution of on-orbit plant research systems. The design focuses on providing the finest scientific instrument possible, as well as providing a sound platform to support future capabilities and enhancements. Performance advancements, modularity and robustness characterize the design. This new system will provide a field ready, highly reliable research tool.
Technical Paper

Plant Research Unit - Program Overview and Update

2002-07-15
2002-01-2279
The Plant Research Unit (PRU) is the Space Station Biological Research Program plant growth facility being developed for the International Space Station. The plant habitat is designed for experiments in near-zero gravity or it can be rotated by the ISS Centrifuge for experiments at any gravity level from microgravity to twice Earth's gravity. Plant experimentation will be possible in multiple Plant Research Units at one time, isolating the effect of gravity on the biological specimens. The PRU will provide and control all aspects of a plant's needs in a nearly closed system. In other words, the shoot and root environments will not be open to the astronaut's environment except for experiment maintenance such as planting, harvesting and plant sampling. This also means that all lighting, temperature and humidity control, nutrient delivery, and air filtering and cleaning must be done in a very small volume, with very little mass and power usage and with minimal crew time.
Technical Paper

The Use of Interactive 3D Simulation in Crew Training and Spaceflight Operations

2002-07-15
2002-01-2499
As space hardware continues to grow in complexity, the demands on crews expected to be able to operate and maintain this equipment continue to grow. In terms of the International Space Station, the demands on the crew have been further increased by the reduction in crew capacity from the originally planned seven members down to three. This situation has prompted the need to find new ways of training that can meet these demands. In particular, just-in-time training techniques promise to enable crew members to correctly execute procedures that they have never performed before on equipment that they are only marginally familiar with or perhaps have never even seen before. To enable crews to work with unfamiliar procedures or equipment, we believe that it is necessary to employ a highly visual approach to convey the complex spatial information that is often involved.
Technical Paper

Collaborative 3D Training: From Astronauts to Automotive Techs

2004-07-19
2004-01-2593
As spaceflight hardware becomes increasingly complex, ever greater demands are placed on astronauts’ training capacity. In addition, astronauts are being asked to conduct unplanned operations with minimal or no training, and long duration operations preclude the ability to thoroughly train before flight on many operations. This trend will be more pronounced as we approach remote operations on the moon and Mars in the Exploration era. In response, Orbital Technologies Corporation has developed an interactive and collaborative 3D simulation training solution for payloads and International Space Station systems. This portable web-based training system provides flexible, efficient and effective pre-flight, real-time and operational training support. Unlike virtual reality systems, this next generation simulation can also be used for remote or just-in-time procedural training between ground-based experts and astronauts in space due to its low file size and collaboration capability.
Technical Paper

Human Factors and Maintainability in the Plant Research Unit (PRU)

2004-07-19
2004-01-2583
The International Space Station (ISS) presents unique challenges in the field of maintainability engineering. Due to limited training time on earth and crew time in space, systems must be designed for ease of operation and maintenance. The Plant Research Unit (PRU), an advanced plant growth facility, is required to operate on orbit with minimal crew interaction for maintenance. The PRU has been allotted one hour per increment for corrective maintenance, which consists of replacing Orbital Replacement Units (ORU) or incorporating workarounds. Designing highly maintainable systems is not possible without incorporating the principles of human factors engineering. The PRU has met the strict crew time requirements by combining those principles with maintainability engineering analysis techniques and then integrating them in the design process.
Technical Paper

Space Plants in the Classroom

2004-07-19
2004-01-2417
A common question for students to ask educators is “When am I ever going to use this?” An excellent way to answer that question is to demonstrate how interrelated many subjects are. At ORBITEC in Madison, WI, we are developing systems to help teachers demonstrate the exciting interrelationships of science, math and technology using activities related to growing plants in space. We are developing two portable plant growth systems that integrate multiple disciplines, enriching students’ classroom experiences. Each portable growth unit is based on similar principles. The Space Garden and Biomass Production Education System (BPES) are growth units for indoor use that utilize a bellows technology to create a greenhouse-like environment. The Space Garden is a personal growth unit that a student can use individually while the BPES will be 0.25 m2, allowing larger-scale experimentation. The Space Garden will be best used in classrooms of grades four through seven.
Technical Paper

Integrating Reliability Principles in the Design of the Plant Research Unit (PRU)

2004-07-19
2004-01-2393
The design of reliable systems is especially important when they are intended for use on the International Space Station (ISS). Limits on crew time and the sensitive nature of experiments being performed require that the systems used to support those experiments have a very low probability of failure. The Plant Research Unit (PRU) has very strict reliability requirements and thus provides a good example of how the challenge of designing reliable systems can be met.
Technical Paper

Protecting the ISS Crew from Biological Hazards: The Advanced Animal Habitat (AAH) Containment Approach

2005-07-11
2005-01-2956
The Advanced Animal Habitat (AAH) represents the next generation of Space Station based animal research facilities. Care has been taken to protect the ISS crew from exposure to the hazardous biological materials contained within the AAH. These materials include rat feces, urine, dander, and odor. The approach to containing biological materials relies on collecting the solid and liquid waste, providing physical barriers between the waste and the crew environment, maintaining negative pressure within the specimen environment with respect to the crew environment, and providing odor filtration of air exchanged between the specimen and crew environments. These protections will be in place during all modes of AAH operation.
Technical Paper

AAH, The Latest Development in Microgravity Animal Research

2005-07-11
2005-01-2784
The Advanced Animal Habitat (AAH) represents the next generation of Space Station based animal research facilities. Building upon previously developed flight hardware and experience, the AAH offers greatly enhanced system capabilities and performance. The design focuses upon the creation of a robust and flexible platform capable of supporting present and future experimental needs. A modular packaging and distributed control architecture leads to increased system adaptability and expandability. The baseline configuration includes group housing capability for up to six rats with automated food and water delivery as well as waste collection. Animals are continuously monitored with three cameras during both day and night cycles. The animals can be accessed while on-orbit through the Life Sciences Glovebox to perform a wide variety of experimental protocols.
Technical Paper

Science Evaluation Units for the Plant Research Unit and the Advanced Animal Habitat

2005-07-11
2005-01-2783
The Advanced Animal Habitat (AAH) and Plant Research Unit (PRU) are two major components of the Space Station Biological Research Project (SSBRP). These two habitats are currently under development by Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC). Science Evaluation Units (SEUs) have been developed for each of these habitats to allow investigators to plan and test flight experiments on the ground using hardware that is functionally similar to the flight versions of the AAH and PRU. The SEUs also contain key functionality that makes them excellent science tools for general laboratory experiments that are not related to flight experiments.
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