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Technical Paper

Assessment of Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion Potential in the International Space Station Internal Active Thermal Control System Heat Exchanger Materials: A 6-Month Study

The fluid in the Internal Active Thermal Control System (IATCS) of the International Space Station (ISS) is water based. The fluid in the ISS Laboratory Module and Node 1 initially contained a mix of water, phosphate (corrosion control), borate (pH buffer), and silver sulfate (Ag2SO4) (microbial control) at a pH of 9.5±0.5. Over time, the chemistry of the fluid changed. Fluid changes included a pH drop from 9.5 to 8.3 due to diffusion of carbon dioxide (CO2) through Teflon® (DuPont) hoses, increases in dissolved nickel (Ni) levels, deposition of silver (Ag) to metal surfaces, and precipitation of the phosphate (PO4) as nickel phosphate (NiPO4). The drop in pH and unavailability of a antimicrobial has provided an environment conducive to microbial growth. Microbial levels in the fluid have increased from <10 colony-forming units (CFUs)/100 mL to 106 CFUs/100 mL.
Technical Paper

Microbial Characterization of Internal Active Thermal Control System (IATCS) Hardware Surfaces after Five Years of Operation in the International Space Station

A flex hose assembly containing aqueous coolant from the International Space Station (ISS) Internal Active Thermal Control System (IATCS) consisting of a 2 foot section of Teflon hose and quick disconnects (QDs) and a Special Performance Checkout Unit (SPCU) heat exchanger containing separate channels of IATCS coolant and iodinated water used to cool spacesuits and Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) were returned for destructive analyses on Shuttle return to flight mission STS-114. The original aqueous IATCS coolant used in Node 1, the Laboratory Module, and the Airlock consisted of water, borate (pH buffer), phosphate (corrosion control), and silver sulfate (microbiological control) at a pH of 9.5 ± 0.5.
Technical Paper

Assessment of the Microbial Control Measures for the Temperature and Humidity Control Subsystem Condensing Heat Exchanger of the International Space Station

In August 1997 NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) began a test with the objective of monitoring the growth of microorganisms on material simulating the surface of the International Space Station (ISS) Temperature and Humidity Control (THC) Condensing Heat Exchanger (CHX). The test addressed the concerns of potential uncontrolled microbial growth on the surface of the THC CHX subsystem. For this study, humidity condensate from a closed manned environment was used as a direct challenge to the surfaces of six cascades in a test set-up. The condensate was collected using a Shuttle-type CHX within the MSFC End-Use Equipment Testing Facility. Panels in four of the six cascades tested were coated with the ISS CHX silver impregnated hydrophilic coating. The remaining two cascade panels were coated with the hydrophilic coating without the antimicrobial component, silver. Results of the fourteen-month study are discussed in this paper.