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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

Development of a Test Facility for Air Revitalization Technology Evaluation

Development of new air revitalization system (ARS) technology can initially be performed in a subscale laboratory environment, but in order to advance the maturity level, the technology must be tested in an end-to-end integrated environment. The Air Revitalization Technology Evaluation Facility (ARTEF) at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) serves as a ground test bed for evaluating emerging ARS technologies in an environment representative of spacecraft atmospheres. At the center of the ARTEF is a hypobaric chamber which serves as a sealed atmospheric chamber for closed loop testing. A Human Metabolic Simulator (HMS) was custom-built to simulate the consumption of oxygen, and production of carbon dioxide, moisture and heat by up to eight persons. A variety of gas analyzers and dew point sensors are used to monitor the chamber atmosphere and the process flow upstream and downstream of a test article. A robust vacuum system is needed to simulate the vacuum of space.
Technical Paper

ISRU Production of Life Support Consumables for a Lunar Base

Similar to finding a home on Earth, location is important when selecting where to set up an exploration outpost. Essential considerations for comparing potential lunar outpost locations include: (1) areas nearby that would be useful for In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) oxygen extraction from regolith for crew breathing oxygen as well as other potential uses; (2) proximity to a suitable landing site; (3) availability of sunlight; (4) capability for line-of-sight communications with Earth; (5) proximity to permanently-shadowed areas for potential in-situ water ice; and (6) scientific interest. The Mons Malapert1 (Malapert Mountain) area (85.5°S, 0°E) has been compared to these criteria, and appears to be a suitable location for a lunar outpost.
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

Development of a Gravity Independent Nitrification Biological Water Processor

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

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

Mir Leak Detection Using Fluorescent Tracer Gases

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

Demonstration of Oxygen Production on the Moon and Mars

Scientists and engineers at NASA are currently developing flight instruments which will demonstrate oxygen production on the Moon and Mars. REGA will extract oxygen from the lunar regolith, measure implanted solar wind and indigenous gases, and monitor the lunar atmosphere. MIP will demonstrate oxygen production on Mars, along with key supporting technologies including filtration, atmospheric acquisition and compression, thermal management, solar cell performance, and dust removal.
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

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

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

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

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.
Journal Article

Minimizing EVA Airlock Time and Depress Gas Losses

This paper describes the need and solution for minimizing EVA airlock time and depress gas losses using a new method that minimizes EVA out-the-door time for a suited astronaut and reclaims most of the airlock depress gas. This method consists of one or more related concepts that use an evacuated reservoir tank to store and reclaim the airlock depress gas. The evacuated tank can be an inflatable tank, a spent fuel tank from a lunar lander descent stage, or a backup airlock. During EVA airlock operations, the airlock and reservoir would be equalized at some low pressure, and through proper selection of reservoir size, most of the depress gas would be stored in the reservoir for later reclamation. The benefit of this method is directly applicable to long duration lunar and Mars missions that require multiple EVA missions (up to 100, two-person lunar EVAs) and conservation of consumables, including depress pump power and depress gas.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the Risk of Circulating Microbubbles Under Simulated Extravehicular Activities After Bed Rest

This ground-based study compared the risk of microbubbles during decompression under simulated space extravehicular activities (EVA) after three days of six-degree head-down bed rest with three days of ambulatory control. Test subjects were exposed to a pressure of 44.8 kPa (6.5 psi), breathed 100% oxygen, and exercised at reduced pressure either in the supine (during experimental) or upright (control) position. Circulating microbubbles were monitored by a precordial Doppler ultrasound device, and were found in 52% (12/23) of control and 26% (6/23) of experimental exposures. Survival analysis using Cox proportional hazards regression showed that there was 0.22 times (95% confidence interval=0.07-0.68) reduction in the risk of high grade microbubbles after bed rest, compared to controls (p=0.004). This finding is of importance in evaluating the risk of DCS during EVA.
Technical Paper

Decompression Gas Phase Formation in Simulated Null Gravity

The incidence of decompression sickness (DCS) in space appears to be less than that predicted to occur on the basis of ground based altitude chamber trials. Our current work uses six hours of chair rest adynamia and likewise produces fewer gas bubbles when compared to standing in a cross over study. Mild exercise during oxygen prebreathe is also very efficacious in reducing DCS and bubble formation (measured by Doppler ultrasound). The effect is postulated to be the result of the alteration in the populations of tissue micronuclei such that the radii are reduced. Surface tension then becomes too great for bubble growth from the existing inert gas partial pressures.
Technical Paper

On-Orbit Performance of the Major Constituent Analyzer

The Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) was activated on-orbit on 2/13/01 and provided essentially continuous readings of partial pressures for oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and water in the ISS atmosphere. The MCA plays a crucial role in the operation of the Laboratory ECLSS and EVA operations from the airlock. This paper discusses the performance of the MCA as compared to specified accuracy requirements. The MCA has an on-board self-calibration capability and the frequency of this calibration could be relaxed with the level of instrument stability observed on-orbit. This paper also discusses anomalies the MCA experienced during the first year of on-orbit operation. Extensive Built In Test (BIT) and fault isolation capabilities proved to be invaluable in isolating the causes of anomalies. The process of fault isolation is discussed along with development of workaround solutions and implementation of permanent on-orbit corrections.