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Technical Paper

Enhanced Performance Evaporative Heat Sinks for Space Applications

1998-07-13
981779
An evaporative heat sink has been designed and built by AlliedSignal for NASA's Johnson Space Center. The unit is a demonstrator of a primary heat exchanger for NASA's prototype Crew Return Vehicle (CRV), designated the X-38. The primary heat exchanger is responsible for rejecting the heat produced by both the flight crew and the avionics. Spacecraft evaporative heat sinks utilize space vacuum as a resource to control the vapor pressure of a liquid. For the X-38, water has been chosen as the heat transport fluid. A portion of this coolant flow is bled off for use as the evaporant. At sufficiently low pressures, the water can be made to boil at temperatures approaching its freezing point. Heat transferred to liquid water in this state will cause the liquid to evaporate, thus creating a heat sink for the spacecraft's coolant loop. The CRV mission requires the heat exchanger to be compact and low in mass.
Technical Paper

The Porous Plate Sublimator as the X-38/CRV (Crew Return Vehicle) Orbital Heat Sink

1999-07-12
1999-01-2004
A porous plate sublimator (based on an existing Lunar Module LM-209 design) is baselined as a heat rejection device for the X-38 vehicle due to its simplicity, reliability, and flight readiness. The sublimator is a passive device used for rejecting heat to the vacuum of space by sublimating water to obtain efficient heat rejection in excess of 1,000 Btu/lb of water. It is ideally suited for the X-38/CRV mission as it requires no active control, has no moving parts, has 100% water usage efficiency, and is a well-proven technology. Two sublimators have been built and tested for the X-38 program, one of which will fly on the NASA V-201 space flight demonstrator vehicle in 2001. The units satisfied all X-38 requirements with margin and have demonstrated excellent performance. Minor design changes were made to the LM-209 design for improved manufacturability and parts obsolescence.
Technical Paper

Environmental Control System for an Experimental Crew Return Vehicle

1997-07-01
972263
A small team of NASA engineers has been assembled at the Johnson Space Center, with the goal of developing an inexpensive space-capable vehicle. In order to minimize cost and development time of the experimental vehicle, it was desirable to build upon a previously-developed vehicle shape. The basic shape of the X-24A experimental lifting body was chosen for several reasons, and in the case of the Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS), the de-orbit cross-range capability of this shape provides for a minimal on-orbit time while waiting for landing opportunities, which in turn simplifies the ECLS. Figure 1 shows the X-38 vehicle body shape. In keeping with the goal of rapidly developing an inexpensive and reliable vehicle, the ECLS was developed using simple, passive systems where practical. This paper provides an overview of the ECLS mission requirements and design, with emphasis on the philosophy used in its development.
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