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Technical Paper

Development of a Rapid Cycling CO2 and H2O Removal Sorbent

2007-07-09
2007-01-3271
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) planned future missions set stringent demands on the design of the Portable Life Support System (PLSS), requiring dramatic reductions in weight, decreased reliance on supplies and greater flexibility for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) duration and objectives. Use of regenerable systems that reduce weight and volume of the space suit life support system is of critical importance to NASA, both for low orbit operations and for long duration manned missions. The carbon dioxide and humidity control unit in the existing PLSS design is relatively large, since it has to remove and store eight hours worth of carbon dioxide (CO2). If the sorbent regeneration can be carried out during the EVA with a relatively high regeneration frequency, the size of the sorbent canister and weight can be significantly reduced.
Technical Paper

System for the Removal of NOX and SO2 from Incinerator Effluents, Part 2

2000-07-10
2000-01-2284
Incineration is a promising method for converting biomass and human waste into CO2 and H2O during extended planetary exploration. During incineration, however, small amounts of NOx and SO2 are produced and must be removed. TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) has developed a safe and effective process to remove NOx and SO2 from waste incinerator product gas streams. In our process, NO is oxidized into NO2 with high selectivity. The NO2 is then removed by wet scrubbing with a weak base to form an innocuous water solution of nitrates and nitrites. SO2 will be removed by a packed bed containing a basic sorbent developed at TDA. As part of an SBIR Phase II project, TDA is to design and construct a pilot-scale effluent cleaning system to be coupled with an existing waste incinerator at NASA Ames Research Center. The effluent from this incinerator may contain fly ash, SO2, unburned hydrocarbons, CO, and NOx.
Technical Paper

Diode Laser Based Formaldehyde Measurements in a Catalytic Trace Contaminant Control System

2000-07-10
2000-01-2303
The development of a portable diode laser based gas sensor and its application to sensitive, selective, on-line monitoring of formaldehyde concentrations present in a catalytic Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) in a 5-day period in August 1999 is reported. The TCCS was originally developed for the Lunar-Mars Life Support Test program in 1996-1997 at NASA-JSC. The motivation for monitoring H2CO levels in a sealed human rated environment is that its presence can cause headaches, throat and ear irritation at low concentrations (>100 ppb), and more serious adverse effects at higher concentration levels. Consequently, NASA has established a spacecraft maximum allowable H2CO concentration of 40 ppb for crew exposure for a 7 to 180 days period [1].
Technical Paper

Control of Solid Waste Using Low Temperature Oxidation

2006-07-17
2006-01-2187
A safe, effective means to control solid waste is a critical need on long-term space missions. With current waste models, 1300 kg of waste occupying a volume 20 m3 will be generated in a 180-day mission to Mars. Unprocessed waste poses a biological hazard to crew health and morale. The waste processing methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this project was to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. In this Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I project, TDA Research Inc. (TDA) conducted tests to measure the rates of oxidation using ozone with five model waste components.
Technical Paper

Development of a Pilot Scale Reactor for the Selective Oxidation of Ammonia to Nitrogen and Water

2004-07-19
2004-01-2406
As manned spacecraft travel farther from Earth, the cost of delivering the payloads to space increases dramatically. For example the cost of delivering a payload to low Earth orbit currently is about $10,000/lb. On the other hand the cost of delivering a payload to Mars may be up to 40 times greater and therefore missions to deep space place a strong emphasis on reducing launch weight and eliminating resupply requirements. The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system, which is being developed to purify water, is an example of this focus. In addition to having a lower launch weight than the Water Recycle System (WRS) currently used on the International Space Station, it also has no resupply requirements. A key step in the VPCAR system is the catalytic oxidation of ammonia and volatile hydrocarbons to benign compounds such as carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen. Currently platinum-based commercial oxidation catalysts are being used for these reactions.
Technical Paper

A Lightweight EVA Emergency System

2004-07-19
2004-01-2264
With an increased rate and length of extravehicular activities (EVAs), a low, but statistically significant possibility exists for system and component failures. In that potential event, it is critical to provide oxygen support, carbon dioxide and moisture removal and thermal control to sustain life. The existing EVA emergency system in the Portable Life Support Unit (PLSS) is reliable, and works well, however, it is heavy because of the high oxygen consumption inherent in its open-loop mode of operation. TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) is developing a low-venting emergency system that provides 30-minute life-support in the case of system or component failures in the Portable Life Support System (PLSS). The approach is to minimize the quantity of the gas vented from the suit and thereby to reduce the weight of the stored oxygen. The operation of the system however, requires an effective sorbent that would remove carbon dioxide from the suit. TDA has developed such a sorbent.
Technical Paper

Freeze Tolerant Radiator for Advanced EMU

2004-07-19
2004-01-2263
The current Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) system provides thermal control using a sublimator to reject both the heat produced by the astronaut's metabolic activity as well as the heat produced by the Portable Life Support Unit (PLSS). This sublimator vents up to eight pounds of water each Extravehicular Activity (EVA). If this load could be radiated to space, the amount of water that would need to be sublimated could be greatly reduced. There is enough surface area on the EMU that almost all of the heat can be rejected by radiation. Radiators, however, reject heat at a relatively constant rate, while the astronaut generates heat at a variable rate. To accommodate this variable heat load, NASA is developing a new freeze tolerant radiator where the tubes can selectively freeze to “turn down” the radiator and adjust to the heat rejection requirement. This radiator design significantly reduces the amount of expendable water needed for the sublimator.
Technical Paper

Development of a Pilot Scale Apparatus for Control of Solid Waste Using Low Temperature Oxidation

2007-07-09
2007-01-3135
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The important goals outlined in this document include extending human presence in the solar system culminating in the exploration of Mars. Unprocessed waste poses a biological hazard to crew health and morale. The waste processing methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this project is to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. In the Phase I project, TDA Research, Inc. demonstrated the potential of a low temperature oxidation process using ozone. In the current Phase II project, TDA and NASA Ames Research Center are developing a pilot scale low temperature ozone oxidation system.
Technical Paper

Process Upsets Involving Trace Contaminant Control Systems

2000-07-10
2000-01-2429
Paradoxically, trace contaminant control systems that suffer unexpected upsets and malfunctions can release hazardous gaseous contaminants into a spacecraft cabin atmosphere causing potentially serious toxicological problems. Trace contaminant control systems designed for spaceflight typically employ a combination of adsorption beds and catalytic oxidation reactors to remove organic and inorganic trace contaminants from the cabin atmosphere. Interestingly, the same design features and attributes which make these systems so effective for purifying a spacecraft’s atmosphere can also make them susceptible to system upsets. Cabin conditions can be contributing causes of phenomena such as adsorbent “rollover” and catalyst poisoning can alter a system’s performance and in some instances release contamination into the cabin. Evidence of these phenomena has been observed both in flight and during ground-based tests.
Technical Paper

Design and Construction of a Pilot Scale System to Remove Pollutants from an Incinerator Effluent

2001-07-09
2001-01-2249
Incineration is a promising method for converting biomass and human waste into CO2 and H2O during extended planetary exploration. However, incineration produces small amounts of NOX and SO2 in the effluent, which must be removed. TDA Research has developed a safe and effective process to remove NOX and SO2 from waste incinerator product gas streams. In our process, NO is catalytically oxidized to NO2, using a low temperature oxidation catalyst developed at TDA. Wet scrubbers then remove the NO2, with most of the NO2 converted into an aqueous solution that can be used as a plant nutrient. A packed bed containing a basic sorbent, also developed at TDA, removes SO2 from the effluent. As part of an SBIR Phase II project, TDA designed and constructed a pilot scale effluent cleaning system, which will be used with the incinerator at NASA Ames Research Center.
Technical Paper

The Smoke Eater, A Sorbent/Catalyst for Recovery from Fires

2008-06-29
2008-01-2098
The possibility and consequences of a fire on board a spacecraft and the subsequent effects of the resultant toxic gases and smoke on the crew, equipment and mission is an ever-present hazard for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The necessity to remove these contaminants in the presence of high levels of humidity and carbon dioxide has prompted the development of a new prototype atmospheric filter (smoke eater) that can scrub acid gases, basic gases, and carbon monoxide from a spacecraft atmosphere in a post-fire event to a concentration below one half the Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) levels. TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) is developing an advanced smoke eater to remove combustion byproducts. The material makeup of the smoke eater will also be applicable to spacecraft evacuation masks and the shipboard atmospheric revitalization system.
Technical Paper

System for the Removal of NOX and SO2 from Incinerator Effluents, Part 1

1999-07-12
1999-01-2184
Incineration is a promising method for converting biomass and human waste into CO2 and H2O during extended planetary exploration. During incineration, small amounts NOX and SO2 are produced and must be removed. TDA has developed a NOX control process that is safe and effective and does not require addition of NH3, which is commonly used in selective catalytic reduction of NOx. In our process, NO is catalytically oxidized to NO2 which is then removed by wet scrubbing with a weak base to form an innocuous water solution of nitrates and nitrites. We plan to integrate our catalytic NO oxidation process into a complete gas cleaning system that will remove NOX, SO2, particulate material, CO and unburned organic compounds.
Technical Paper

A Lightweight EVA Emergency System

2003-07-07
2003-01-2447
TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) is developing a compact, lightweight ExtraVehicular activity (EVA) emergency system that provides 30-minute life-support in the case of system or component failures in the Portable Life Support System (PLSS). The system uses a low ventilation rate to reduce the amount of stored oxygen, reducing the associated weight and volume penalty. Operation of the system requires an effective sorbent that would remove carbon dioxide and moisture from the suit. We are developing a regenerable sorbent that is suitable for the conceptual system. Recently, we tested the sorbent performance in an adiabatic reactor setup simulating representative EVA emergency conditions. This paper summarizes results of these adiabatic tests.
Technical Paper

An Advanced CO2 Removal and Reduction System

2003-07-07
2003-01-2498
The recovery of oxygen from a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) offers significant advantage to long duration manned space missions by reducing the requirement for consumables. TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) is developing a chemical absorbent-based system to carry out CO2 removal and CO2 reduction for the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) at the International Space Station (ISS). The system eliminates the interfacing problems associated with the currently operational CO2 Removal Assembly (CDRA) and planned CO2 Reduction Assembly (CRA). This paper discusses the development efforts of a regenerable absorbent that is suitable for our conceptual system recommended for future missions. We also tested the performance of a state-of-the-art catalyst for CO2 reduction to water and methane at the conditions of interest. We demonstrate the technical feasibility of carrying out CO2 removal and reduction.
Journal Article

Development and Design of a Low Temperature Solid Waste Oxidation and Water Recovery System

2008-06-29
2008-01-2052
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The goals outlined in this document include extending the human presence in the solar system, culminating in the exploration of Mars. A key requirement for this effort is to identify a safe and effective method to process waste. Methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis, drying, and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this work is to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. Previously, TDA Research, Inc. demonstrated the potential of a low temperature dry oxidation process using ozone in a small laboratory reactor.
Technical Paper

A Lightweight EVA Emergency System

2002-07-15
2002-01-2414
The selection of technologies for an evolutionary Space Station Freedom or a planetary (lunar or Martian) extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) are strongly driven by the system volume and weight as well as life cycle costs, reliability and safety. TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) is developing a compact, lightweight emergency system that provides 30-minute life-support in the case of system or component failures in the Portable Life Support System (PLSS). The system uses a low ventilation rate to reduce the amount of stored oxygen, reducing the associated weight and volume penalty. Operation of the system requires an effective sorbent that would remove carbon dioxide and moisture from the suit. We developed a regenerable sorbent that is suitable for the conceptual system. We also carried out a preliminary system analysis to show that the design saves significant weight.
Technical Paper

An Investigation of International Space Station Trace Contaminant Oxidation Catalyst Poisoning

1996-07-01
961517
The Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) removes most hazardous contaminants from the space station atmosphere using a carbon bed, but some must be destroyed in a high temperature catalytic oxidizer. While the oxidizer is protected from catalyst poisons by the carbon bed, if contaminant loads are greater than anticipated, the catalyst may be exposed to a variety of poisons. Thus, we studied the effect of halocarbons, sulfides and nitrogen compounds on the catalytic activity and the products produced. We found that even if poisoning occurs, the catalyst will recover, and will not produce toxic partial oxidation products.
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