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Technical Paper

Performance Characterization of a Temperature-Swing Adsorption Compressor for Closed-Loop Air Revitalization Based on Integrated Tests with Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reduction Assemblies

2006-07-17
2006-01-2126
CO2 removal, recovery and reduction are essential processes for a closed loop air revitalization system in a crewed spacecraft. Typically, a compressor is required to recover the low pressure CO2 that is being removed from the spacecraft in a swing bed adsorption system. This paper describes integrated tests of a Temperature-Swing Adsorption Compressor (TSAC) with high-fidelity systems for carbon dioxide removal and reduction assemblies (CDRA and Sabatier reactor). It also provides details of the TSAC operation at various CO2 loadings. The TSAC is a solid-state compressor that has the capability to remove CO2 from a low-pressure source, and subsequently store, compress, and deliver it at a higher pressure. TSAC utilizes the principle of temperature-swing adsorption compression and has no rapidly moving parts.
Technical Paper

Development and Testing of a Sorbent-Based Atmosphere Revitalization System for the Crew Exploration Vehicle 2006/2007

2007-07-09
2007-01-3254
The design of a vacuum-swing adsorption process to remove metabolic water, metabolic carbon dioxide, and metabolic and equipment generated trace contaminant gases from the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) atmosphere is presented. For Orion, the approach is taken that all metabolic water must be removed by the Sorbent-Based Atmosphere Revitalization System (SBAR), a technology approach that has not been used in previous spacecraft life support systems. Design and development of a prototype SBAR, a facility test stand, and subsequent testing of the SBAR in late 2006 and early 2007 is discussed.
Technical Paper

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

2006-07-17
2006-01-2195
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 and Testing of a Sorbent-Based Atmosphere Revitalization System for the Crew Exploration Vehicle

2006-07-17
2006-01-2219
The design of a vacuum-swing adsorption process to remove metabolic water, metabolic carbon dioxide, and metabolic and equipment generated trace contaminant gases from the crew exploration vehicle (CEV) atmosphere is presented. For the CEV, the sorbent-based atmosphere revitalization (SBAR) system must remove all metabolic water, a technology approach that has not been used in previous spacecraft life support systems. Design and development of a prototype SBAR, a full scale and subscale facility test stand, and other aspects of the SBAR development program is discussed.
Technical Paper

Development and Testing of a Sorbent-Based Atmosphere Revitalization System for the Crew Exploration Vehicle 2007/2008

2008-06-29
2008-01-2082
The design of a Vacuum-Swing Adsorption (VSA) system to remove metabolic water and metabolic carbon dioxide from the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) atmosphere is presented. The approach for Orion is a VSA system that removes not only 100 percent of the metabolic CO2 from the atmosphere, but also 100% of the metabolic water as well, a technology approach that has not been used in previous spacecraft life support systems. The design and development of the Sorbent Based Atmosphere Regeneration (SBAR) system, including test articles, a facility test stand, and full-scale testing in late 2007 and early 2008 is discussed.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Ammonia Sorbents and Carbon Monoxide Oxidation Catalysts

2008-06-29
2008-01-2097
Designers of future space vehicles envision simplifying the Atmosphere Revitalization (AR) system by combining the functions of trace contaminant (TC) control and carbon dioxide removal into one swing-bed system. Flow rates and bed sizes of the TC and CO2 systems have historically been very different. There is uncertainty about the ability of trace contaminant sorbents to adsorb adequately in a high-flow or short bed length configurations, and to desorb adequately during short vacuum exposures. This paper describes preliminary results of a comparative experimental investigation into adsorbents for trace contaminant control. Ammonia sorbents and low temperature catalysts for CO oxidation are the foci. The data will be useful to designers of AR systems for Constellation. Plans for extended and repeated vacuum exposure of ammonia sorbents are also presented.
Technical Paper

Enzyme-Enhanced Membranes for Gas Separation

1999-07-12
1999-01-1961
Membranes are highly desirable for separating gases in life-support applications. They are small, light, efficient, selective and require little operational or physical maintenance. Facilitated transport membranes have particularly high flux and selectivity. We created enzyme-based facilitated transport membranes using isozymes and mutants as immobilized arrays alone and in conjunction with polymeric membranes. The enzyme operates efficiently at the low CO2 concentrations encountered in respiratory gases and can bring CO2 to near ambient levels. CO2 flux is greatly enhanced and selectivities for CO2 over O2 of 200:1 or greater are possible. The enzymes are robust and stable for long periods under a variety of storage and use conditions.
Technical Paper

Mir Leak Detection Using Fluorescent Tracer Gases

1999-07-12
1999-01-1938
On June 25, 1997 a docking mishap of a Progress supply ship caused the Progress vehicle to crash into an array of solar panels and puncture the hull of the Spektr module. The puncture was small enough to allow the crew to seal off the Spektr module and repressurize the rest of the station. The Progress vehicle struck the Spektr module several times and the exact location, size, and number of punctures in the Spektr hull was unknown. Russian cosmonauts donned space suits and went inside the Spektr module to repair some electrical power cables and look for the location of the hull breach, they could not identify the exact location of the hole (or holes). The Spektr module was pressurized with Mir cabin air twice during the STS-86 fly around in an attempt to detect leakage (in the form of ice particles) from the module. Seven particles were observed within a 36 second time span, but tracking the path of the individual particles did not pinpoint a specific leak location.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Mars In-Situ Propellant Production

1997-07-01
972496
In-situ production of oxygen and methane for utilization as a return propellant from Mars for both sample-return and manned missions is currently being developed by NASA in cooperation with major aerospace companies. Various technologies are being evaluated using computer modeling and analysis at the system level. An integrated system that processes the carbon dioxide in the Mars atmosphere to produce liquid propellants has been analyzed. The system is based on the Sabatier reaction that utilizes carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methane and water. The water is then electrolyzed to produce hydrogen and oxygen. While the hydrogen is recycled, the propellant gases are liquefied and stored for later use. The process model considers the surface conditions on Mars (temperature, pressure, composition), energy usage, and thermal integration effects on the overall system weight and size. Current mission scenarios require a system that will produce 0.7 kg of propellant a day for 500 days.
Technical Paper

Solid Polymer Electrolyte Oxygen Generator Assembly Life Testing at MSFC - The First Year

1997-07-01
972376
A two year test program has been initiated to evaluate the effects of extended duration operation on a solid polymer electrolyte Oxygen Generator Assembly (OGA); in particular the cell stack and membrane phase separators. As part of this test program, the OGA was integrated into the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Water Recovery Test (WRT) Stage 10, a six month test, to use reclaimed water directly from the water processor product water storage tanks. This paper will document results encountered and evaluated thus far in the life testing program.
Technical Paper

Diode-Laser Spectral Absorption-Based Gas Species Sensor for Life Support Applications

1997-07-01
972388
We present the development of a semiconductor diode laser spectral absorption based gas species sensor for oxygen concentration measurements, intended for life support system monitoring and control applications. Employing a novel self-compensating, noise cancellation detection approach, we experimentally demonstrate better than 1% accuracy, linearity, and stability for monitoring breathing air conditions with 0.2 second response time. We also discuss applications of this approach to CO2 sensing.
Technical Paper

Performance of the Atmosphere Revitalization System During Phase II of the Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project

1997-07-01
972418
The Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project (LMLSTP), formerly known as the Early Human Testing Initiative (EHTI), was established to perform the necessary research, technology development, integration, and verification of regenerative life support systems to provide safe, reliable, and self-sufficient human life support systems. Four advanced life support system test phases make up LMLSTP. Phase I of the test program demonstrated the use of plants to provide the atmosphere revitalization requirements of a single test subject for 15 days. The primary objective of the Phase II test was to demonstrate an integrated regenerative life support system capable of sustaining a human crew of four for 30 days in a closed chamber. The third test phase, known as Phase IIA, served as a demonstration of International Space Station (ISS) representative life support technology, supporting a human crew of four for 60 days.
Technical Paper

CO2 Removal with Enhanced Molecular Sieves

1997-07-01
972431
In the closed environment of an inhabited spacecraft, a critical aspect of the air revitalization system is the removal of the carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor produced by the crew. A number of different techniques can be used for CO2 removal, but current methods are either non-regenerative or require a relatively high power input for thermal regeneration. Two-bed CO2 adsorption systems that can remove CO2 from humid air and be regenerated using pressure-swing desorption offer mass, volume, and power advantages when compared with the other methods. Two classes of sorbent materials show particular promise for this application: Zeolite sorbents, similar to those in the International Space Station (ISS) CO2 removal assembly Functionalized carbon molecular sieves (FCMS), which adsorb CO2 independent of the humidity in the airstream Pressure-swing testing of these two different sorbents under both space station and space suit conditions are currently underway.
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

2005-07-11
2005-01-3077
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

International Space Station Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (ISS CDRA) Concepts and Advancements

2005-07-11
2005-01-2892
An important aspect of air revitalization for life support in spacecraft is the removal of carbon dioxide from cabin air. Several types of carbon dioxide removal systems are in use or have been proposed for use in spacecraft life support systems. These systems rely on various removal techniques that employ different architectures and media for scrubbing CO2, such as permeable membranes, liquid amine, adsorbents, and absorbents. Sorbent systems have been used since the first manned missions. The current state of key technology is the existing International Space Station (ISS) Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA), a system that selectively removes carbon dioxide from the cabin atmosphere. The CDRA system was launched aboard UF-2 in February 2001 and resides in the U.S. Destiny Laboratory module. During the past four years, the CDRA system has experienced operational limitations.
Technical Paper

Rotary Drum Separator and Pump for the Sabatier Carbon Dioxide Reduction System

2005-07-11
2005-01-2863
A trade study conducted in 2001 selected a rotary disk separator as the best candidate to meet the requirements for an International Space Station (ISS) Carbon Dioxide Reduction Assembly (CRA). The selected technology must provide micro-gravity gas/liquid separation and pump the liquid from 69 kPa (10 psia) at the gas/liquid interface to 124 kPa (18 psia) at the wastewater bus storage tank. The rotary disk concept, which has pedigree in other systems currently being built for installation on the ISS, failed to achieve the required pumping head within the allotted power. The separator discussed in this paper is a new design that was tested to determine compliance with performance requirements in the CRA. The drum separator and pump (DSP) design is similar to the Oxygen Generator Assembly (OGA) Rotary Separator Accumulator (RSA) in that it has a rotating assembly inside a stationary housing driven by a integral internal motor[1].
Technical Paper

Integrated Test and Evaluation of a 4-Bed Molecular Sieve (4BMS) Carbon Dioxide Removal System (CDRA), Mechanical Compressor Engineering Development Unit (EDU), and Sabatier Engineering Development Unit (EDU)

2005-07-11
2005-01-2864
This paper presents and discusses the results of an integrated 4-Bed Molecular Sieve (4BMS), mechanical compressor, and Sabatier Engineering Development Unit (EDU) test. Testing was required to evaluate the integrated performance of these components of a closed loop atmosphere revitalization system together with a proposed compressor control algorithm. A theoretical model and numerical simulation had been used to develop the control algorithm; however, testing was necessary to verify the simulation results and further refine the model. Hardware testing of a fully integrated system also provided a better understanding of the practical inefficiencies and control issues, which are unavailable from a theoretical model.
Journal Article

Development and Testing of a Sorbent-Based Atmosphere Revitalization System 2008/2009

2009-07-12
2009-01-2445
The design and evaluation of a Vacuum-Swing Adsorption (VSA) system to remove metabolic water and metabolic carbon dioxide from a spacecraft atmosphere is presented. The approach for Orion and Altair is a VSA system that removes not only 100 percent of the metabolic CO2 from the atmosphere, but also 100% of the metabolic water as well, a technology approach that has not been used in previous spacecraft life support systems. The design and development of an Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Sorbent Based Atmosphere Revitalization system, including test articles, a facility test stand, and full-scale testing in late 2008 and early 2009 is discussed.
Journal Article

Engineered Structured Sorbents for the Adsorption of Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor from Manned Spacecraft Atmospheres: Applications and Testing 2008/2009

2009-07-12
2009-01-2444
Developmental efforts are seeking to improve upon the efficiency and reliability of typical packed beds of sorbent pellets by using structured sorbents and alternative bed configurations. The benefits include increased structural stability gained by eliminating clay bound zeolite pellets that tend to fluidize and erode, and better thermal control during sorption leading to increased process efficiency. Test results that demonstrate such improvements are described and presented.
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