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Technical Paper

The Influence of Microbiology on Spacecraft Design and Controls: A Historical Perspective of the Shuttle and International Space Station Programs

2006-07-17
2006-01-2156
For over 40 years, NASA has been putting humans safely into space in part by minimizing microbial risks to crew members. Success of the program to minimize such risks has resulted from a combination of engineering and design controls as well as active monitoring of the crew, food, water, hardware, and spacecraft interior. The evolution of engineering and design controls is exemplified by the implementation of HEPA filters for air treatment, antimicrobial surface materials, and the disinfection regimen currently used on board the International Space Station. Data from spaceflight missions confirm the effectiveness of current measures; however, fluctuations in microbial concentrations and trends in contamination events suggest the need for continued diligence in monitoring and evaluation as well as further improvements in engineering systems. The knowledge of microbial controls and monitoring from assessments of past missions will be critical in driving the design of future spacecraft.
Technical Paper

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

2007-07-09
2007-01-3067
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

2000-07-10
2000-01-2391
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

2003-07-07
2003-01-2538
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

2003-07-07
2003-01-2572
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

Development of a Gravity Independent Nitrification Biological Water Processor

2003-07-07
2003-01-2560
Biological water processors are currently being developed for application in microgravity environments. Work has been performed to develop a single-phase, gravity independent anoxic denitrification reactor for organic carbon removal [1]. As a follow on to this work it was necessary to develop a gravity independent nitrification reactor in order to provide sufficient nitrite and nitrate to the organic carbon oxidation reactor for the complete removal of organic carbon. One approach for providing the significant amounts of dissolved oxygen required for nitrification is to require the biological reactor design to process two-phase gas and liquid in micro-gravity. This paper addresses the design and test results overview for development of a tubular, two-phase, gravity independent nitrification biological water processor.
Technical Paper

Assessment of Microbial Community Variability in Replicate Tubular Nitrifying Bioreactors using PCR and TRFLP Analysis

2003-07-07
2003-01-2511
Bioregenerative life support systems (BLSS) may be necessary for long-term space missions due to the high costs of lifting supplies and equipment into orbit. Much of the recycling to be done in a BLSS involves microbial activity. Although most studies to date have used a culture-based approach to characterize bacteria in BLSS under development, recently work has begun utilizing non-culture-based, DNA approaches to elucidate which microbes are present. In this study, we investigated whether replicate reactors develop replicate microbial communities using a 16S rRNA gene approach and terminal restriction length polymorphism analysis for tubular, nitrifier reactors in use at JSC. Our result suggests that both individual reactor and temporal signals can be detected in the microbial populations. This information may lead to optimization of inoculation procedures and reactor operations conditions to increase predictability and reliability of biological systems.
Technical Paper

Optimization of Chamber-Grown Crops in Menu Planning

1998-07-13
981559
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

The Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project Phase III 90-day Test: The Crew Perspective

1998-07-13
981702
The Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project (LMLSTP) Phase III test examined the use of biological and physicochemical life support technologies for the recovery of potable water from waste water, the regeneration of breathable air, and the maintenance of a shirt-sleeve environment for a crew of four persons for 91 days. This represents the longest duration ground-test of life support systems with humans performed in the United States. This paper will describe the test from the inside viewpoint, concentrating on three major areas: maintenance and repair of life support elements, the scientific projects performed primarily in support of the International Space Station, and numerous activities in the areas of public affairs and education outreach.
Technical Paper

Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project Phase III Water Recovery System Operation and Results

1998-07-13
981707
An integrated water recovery system was operated for 91 days in support of the Lunar Mars Life Support Test Project (LMLSTP) Phase III test. The system combined both biological and physical-chemical processes to treat a combined wastewater stream consisting of waste hygiene water, urine, and humidity condensate. Biological processes were used for primary degradation of organic material as well as for nitrification of ammonium in the wastewater. Physical-chemical systems removed inorganic salts from the water and provided post-treatment. The integrated system provided potable water to the crew throughout the test. This paper describes the water recovery system and reviews the performance of the system during the test.
Technical Paper

Regenerative Water Recovery System Testing and Model Correlation

1997-07-01
972550
Biological wastewater processing has been under investigation by AlliedSignal Aerospace and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) for future use in space. Testing at JSC in the Hybrid Regenerative Water Recovery System (HRWRS) in preparation for future closed human testing has been performed. Computer models have been developed to aid in the design of a new four-person immobilized cell bioreactor. The design of the reactor and validation of the computer model is presented. In addition, the total organic carbon (TOC) computer model has been expanded to begin investigation of nitrification. This model is being developed to identify the key parameters of the nitrification process, and to improve the design and operating conditions of nitrifying bioreactors. In addition, the model can be used as a design tool to rapidly predict the effects of changes in operational conditions and reactor design, significantly reducing the number and duration of experiments required.
Technical Paper

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

1997-07-01
972502
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

Removal of Low Levels of Ammonium Ion From pacecraft Recycled Water

1999-07-12
1999-01-2119
Poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC) matrix membranes which incorporate the ionophore nonactin have been evaluated as cation exchange membranes for ammonium ion transport in an electrolytic cell configuration. Interest exists for the development of cation selective membranes for removal of low levels (<200ppm) of ammonium ions commonly found in recycled effluent streams in such diverse applications as expected in a Space Station and commercial fisheries. Ammonium ions are generated as a decomposition product of urea and over time build up in concentration, thus rendering the water unsuitable for human consumption. Nonactin is commonly used in a PVC matrix for ion-selective electrodes.
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

Advanced Fiber-Optic Monitoring System for Space-flight Applications

2005-07-11
2005-01-2877
Researchers at Luna Innovations Inc. and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA MSFC) are developing an integrated fiber-optic sensor system for real-time monitoring of chemical contaminants and whole-cell bacterial pathogens in water. The system integrates interferometric and evanescent-wave optical fiber-based sensing methodologies to provide versatile measurement capability for both micro- and nano-scale analytes. Sensors can be multiplexed in an array format and embedded in a totally self-contained laboratory card for use with an automated microfluidics platform.
Technical Paper

An Environmental Sensor Technology Selection Process for Exploration

2005-07-11
2005-01-2872
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.
Technical Paper

Progress on Development of the Advanced Life Support Human-Rated Test Facility

1995-07-01
951691
NASA's Advanced Life Support Program has included as part of its long-range planning the development of a large-scale advanced life support facility capable of supporting long-duration testing of integrated, regenerative biological and physicochemical life support systems. As the designated NASA Field Center responsible for integration and testing of advanced life support systems, Johnson Space Center has undertaken the development of such a facility--the Advanced Life Support Human-Rated Test Facility (HRTF). As conceived, the HRTF is an interconnected five-chamber facility with a sealed internal environment capable of supporting a test crew of four for periods exceeding one year. The life support system which sustains the crew consists of both biological and physicochemical components and will perform air revitalization, water recovery, food production, solid waste processing, thermal management, and integrated control and monitoring functions.
Technical Paper

Real-Time Executive Monitor (RTEM)

1994-10-01
942169
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.
Technical Paper

NASA's Approach to Integrated System Testing of Regenerative Life Support Systems

1995-07-01
951494
Integrating physicochemical and biological technologies into a regenerative life support system is a complex technical challenge. NASA recognizes that the depth and breadth of the challenge warrants a comprehensive investigation. NASA is implementing several ground-based projects to look at different systems integration issues. The combined efforts of these activities will enable NASA to develop regenerative life support systems for human exploration of the solar system in the 21st century. This paper provides an overview of NASA's overall approach to ground testing of integrated regenerative life support systems.
Technical Paper

Computer Modeling and Experimental Investigations of a Regenerative Life Support Waste Water Bioreactor

1995-07-01
951463
Computer models are currently being developed by NASA and major aerospace companies to characterize regenerative life support waste water reclamation bioreactors. Detailed models increase understanding of complex processes within the bioreactors and predict performance capabilities over a wide range of operating parameters. Bench-top scale bioreactors are contributing to the development and validation of these models. The purpose of the detailed bioreactor model is to simulate the complex water purification processes as accurately as possible by minimizing the use of simplifying assumptions and empirical relationships. Fundamental equations of mass transport and microbial kinetics were implemented in a finite-difference model structure to maximize accuracy and adaptability to various bioreactor configurations. The model development is based upon concepts and data from the available literature and data from the bench top bioreactor investigations.
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