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Technical Paper

Guidance for Trade Studies of Flight-Equivalent Hardware

Spacecraft hardware trade studies compare options primarily on mass while considering impacts to cost, risk, and schedule. Historically, other factors have been considered in these studies, such as reliability, technology readiness level (TRL), volume and crew time. In most cases, past trades compared two or more technologies across functional and TRL boundaries, which is an uneven comparison of the technologies. For example, low TRL technologies with low mass were traded directly against flight-proven hardware without consideration for requirements and the derived architecture. To provide for even comparisons of spacecraft hardware, trades need to consider functionality, mission constraints, integer vs. real number of flight hardware units, and mass growth allowances by TRL.
Technical Paper

Innovative Schematic Concept Analysis for a Space Suit Portable Life Support Subsystem

Conceptual designs for a space suit Personal Life Support Subsystem (PLSS) were developed and assessed to determine if upgrading the system using new, emerging, or projected technologies to fulfill basic functions would result in mass, volume, or performance improvements. Technologies were identified to satisfy each of the functions of the PLSS in three environments (zero-g, Lunar, and Martian) and in three time frames (2006, 2010, and 2020). The viability of candidate technologies was evaluated using evaluation criteria such as safety, technology readiness, and reliability. System concepts (schematics) were developed for combinations of time frame and environment by assigning specific technologies to each of four key functions of the PLSS -- oxygen supply, waste removal, thermal control, and power. The PLSS concepts were evaluated using the ExtraVehicular Activity System Sizing Analysis Tool, software created by NASA to analyze integrated system mass, volume, power and thermal loads.
Technical Paper

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

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

Simulation Study of Space Suit Thermal Control

Automatic thermal comfort control for the minimum consumables PLSS is undertaken using several control approaches. Accuracy and performance of the strategies using feedforward, feedback, and gain scheduling are evaluated through simulation, highlighting their advantages and limitations. Implementation issues, consumable usage, and the provision for the extension of these control strategies to the cryogenic PLSS are addressed.
Technical Paper

Enhancing the Human Factors Engineering Role in an Austere Fiscal Environment

An austere fiscal environment in the aerospace community creates pressure to reduce program costs, often minimizing or even deleting human interface requirements from the design process. With the assumption that the flight crew can recover, in real time, from a poorly human factored space vehicle design, the classical crew interface requirements have either been not included in the design or not properly funded, even though they are carried as requirements. Cost cuts have also affected the quality of retained human factors engineering personnel. Planning is ongoing to correct these issues. Herein are techniques for ensuring that human interface requirements are integrated with flight design from proposal through verification and launch activation.
Technical Paper

Reducing the Risk of Human Space Missions With INTEGRITY

The INTEGRITY Program will design and operate a test bed facility to help prepare for future beyond-LEO missions. The purpose of INTEGRITY is to enable future missions by developing, testing, and demonstrating advanced human space systems. INTEGRITY will also implement and validate advanced management techniques including risk analysis and mitigation. One important way INTEGRITY will help enable future missions is by reducing their risk. A risk analysis of human space missions is important in defining the steps that INTEGRITY should take to mitigate risk. This paper describes how a Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) of human space missions will help support the planning and development of INTEGRITY to maximize its benefits to future missions. PRA is a systematic methodology to decompose the system into subsystems and components, to quantify the failure risk as a function of the design elements and their corresponding probability of failure.
Technical Paper

Mechanical Properties and Durability Study of Aerogel-Base Thermal Insulation for Advanced Space Suit

Fiber-reinforced Aerogel composite insulations provide superior thermal insulation protection in both the low-earth orbit (LEO) and near-earth neighborhood planetary environments. The flexible nature and thermal properties of these materials make them the best insulation candidates for advanced space suit application. This paper reviews the properties of various Aerogel composite materials developed for NASA by Aspen Systems, Inc. Previous studies showed that the Aerogel materials retained acceptable thermal performance after some amount of mechanical cycling. The goal of the current work is to reach a complete understanding of the mechanical properties of these materials in the domain of space suit application. Hence, a good knowledge of the durability of the aerogel composites is needed. This paper presents the extensive testing program needed to determine the life of these insulations for advanced space suit application.
Technical Paper

Optimization of Chamber-Grown Crops in Menu Planning

NASA-JSC is evaluating planetary mission scenarios where plants will provide the majority of the diet for the crew. The requirements of both plants and crew diet need to be integrated in the development of the final food system. Plant growth has limitations in type and quantity of crops to be produced while diets must meet palatability and nutritional requirements as well as limited processing labor, equipment and power. A plan is presented for the development of a food system based heavily on grown crops. Although the steps taken in the development are applicable to the design of any long duration flight food system. The process begins with the development of a food list, followed by preliminary menu design, nutritional analysis and finally menu testing.
Technical Paper

A Proposed Byzantine Fault-Tolerant Voting Architecture using Time-Triggered Ethernet

Over the last couple decades, there has been a growing interest in incorporating commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies and open standards in the design of human-rated spacecraft. This approach is intended to reduce development and upgrade costs, lower the need for new design work, eliminate reliance on individual suppliers, and minimize schedule risk. However, it has not traditionally been possible for COTS solutions to meet the high reliability and fault tolerance requirements of systems implementing critical spacecraft functions. Byzantine faults are considered particularly dangerous to such systems because of their ability to escape traditional means of fault containment and disrupt consensus between system components. In this paper, we discuss the design of a voting protocol using Time-Triggered Ethernet capable of achieving data integrity in the presence of a single Byzantine fault.
Technical Paper

Extravehicular Activity Metabolic Profile Development Based on Apollo, Skylab, and Shuttle Missions

The importance of being able to determine the usage rate of life support subsystem consumables was recognized well before the first Apollo Extravehicular Activity (EVA). Since that time, metabolic activity levels have been evaluated and recorded for each EVA crew member. Throughout the history of the United States space program, EVA metabolic rates have been shown to be variable depending upon the mission scenario and the equipment used. Knowing this historic information is invaluable for current EVA planning activities, as well as for the design of future Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) systems. This paper presents an overview of historic metabolic expenditures for Apollo, Skylab, and Shuttle missions, along with a discussion of the types of EVA crew member activities which lead to various metabolic rate levels, and a discussion on how this data is being used to develop advanced EMU systems.
Technical Paper

Comparison Studies of Candidate Nutrient Delivery Systems for Plant Cultivation in Space

A reliable nutrient delivery system is essential for long-term cultivation of plants in space. At the Kennedy Space Center, a series of ground-based tests are being conducted to compare candidate plant nutrient delivery systems for space. To date, our major focus has concentrated on the Porous Tube Plant Nutrient Delivery System, the ASTROCULTURE™ System, and a zeoponic plant growth substrate. The merits of each system are based upon the performance of wheat supported over complete growth cycles. To varying degrees, each system supported wheat biomass production and showed distinct patterns for plant nutrient uptake and water use.
Technical Paper

Environmental Control System for an Experimental Crew Return Vehicle

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.
Technical Paper

An Environmental Sensor Technology Selection Process for Exploration

In planning for Exploration missions and developing the required suite of environmental monitors, the difficulty lies in down-selecting a multitude of technology options to a few candidates with exceptional potential. Technology selection criteria include conventional analytical parameters (e.g., range, sensitivity, selectivity), operational factors (degree of automation, portability, required level of crew training, maintenance), logistical factors (size, mass, power, consumables, waste generation) and engineering factors such as complexity and reliability. Other more subtle considerations include crew interfaces, data readout and degree of autonomy from the ground control center. We anticipate that technology demonstrations designed toward these goals will be carried out on the International Space Station, the end result of which is a suite of techniques well positioned for deployment during Exploration missions.
Journal Article

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

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.
Technical Paper

Real-Time Executive Monitor (RTEM)

The use of redundant avionic architecture on modern aircraft for both Flight Control and Mission Management has intensified the requirements for Condition Monitoring of Critical Control and Computational functions. The Application of a REAL-TIME EXECUTIVE MODULE (RTEM) provides a core element of detection for departures from norm or nominal expected performance in such systems. The RTEM performs all Fault Tolerant operations and functions including Fault Tolerant Communication, Inter-Lane Control, Synchronization, Real-Time Task Scheduling, Data Voting, Message Error Checking, Error Detection and Reporting, Graceful Degradation, Dynamic System Reconfiguration and Application Interface Specifics.