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Technical Paper

Results of the Trace Contaminant Control Trade Study for Space Suit Life Support Development

2009-07-12
2009-01-2370
Designing the most effective and efficient life support systems is of extreme importance as the United States makes plans to return astronauts to the Moon. The Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS), which will be located within the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) of the Constellation spacesuit element (CSSE), is responsible for removing contaminants that, at increased levels, can be hazardous to crew member health. These contaminants arise from several sources including metabolic production of the crew member (e.g., breathing, sweating, etc.) and offgassing of the spacesuit material layers. This paper summarizes the results of a trade study that investigated TCC technologies that were used in NASA space-suits and vehicles, as well as commercial and academic applications, to identify the best technology options for the CSSE PLSS.
Technical Paper

Fan Performance Testing and Oxygen Compatibility Assessment Results for Future Space Suit Life Support Systems

2009-07-12
2009-01-2448
An advanced Portable Life Support System for a future space suit will require a small, robust, and energy-efficient system to transport ventilation gas through the space suit for lunar Extravehicular Activity (EVA) operations. A trade study identified and compared ventilation transport technologies in commercial, military, and space applications to determine which technologies could be adapted for EVA use. Based on these trade study results, five commercially available, 24-V fans were selected for performance testing at various pressures and flow rates. Measured fan parameters included: fan delta-pressures, input voltages, input electrical currents, and, in some cases, motor windings electrical voltages and currents. A follow-on trade study was also performed to identify oxygen compatibility issues and assess their impact on fan design. This paper outlines the results of the fan performance characterization testing, as well as the results from the oxygen compatibility assessment.
Journal Article

Results of the Particulate Contamination Control Trade Study for Space Suit Life Support Development

2009-07-12
2009-01-2373
As the United States makes plans to return astronauts to the moon and eventually send them on to Mars, designing the most effective, efficient, and robust spacesuit life support system that will operate successfully in dusty environments is vital. Some knowledge has been acquired regarding the contaminants and level of infiltration that can be expected from lunar and Mars dust, however, risk mitigation strategies and filtration designs that will prevent contamination within a spacesuit life support system are yet undefined. A trade study was therefore initiated to identify and address these concerns, and to develop new requirements for the Constellation spacesuit element Portable Life Support System. This trade study investigated historical methods of controlling particulate contamination in spacesuits and space vehicles, and evaluated the possibility of using commercial technologies for this application. The trade study also examined potential filtration designs.
Technical Paper

Continuously Regenerable Freeze-Out CO2 Control Technology

2007-07-09
2007-01-3270
Carbon dioxide (CO2) removal technology development for portable life support systems (PLSS) has traditionally concentrated in the areas of solid and liquid chemical sorbents and semi-permeable membranes. Most of these systems are too heavy in gravity environments, require prohibitive amounts of consumables for operation on long term planetary missions, or are inoperable on the surface of Mars due to the presence of a CO2 atmosphere. This paper describes the effort performed to mature an innovative CO2 removal technology that meets NASA's planetary mission needs while adhering to the important guiding principles of simplicity, reliability, and operability. A breadboard cryogenic carbon dioxide scrubber for an ejector-based cryogenic PLSS was developed, designed, and tested. The scrubber freezes CO2 and other trace contaminants out of expired ventilation loop gas using cooling available from a liquid oxygen (LOX) based PLSS.
Technical Paper

Development of a Rapid Cycling CO2 and H2O Removal Sorbent

2007-07-09
2007-01-3271
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) planned future missions set stringent demands on the design of the Portable Life Support System (PLSS), requiring dramatic reductions in weight, decreased reliance on supplies and greater flexibility for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) duration and objectives. Use of regenerable systems that reduce weight and volume of the space suit life support system is of critical importance to NASA, both for low orbit operations and for long duration manned missions. The carbon dioxide and humidity control unit in the existing PLSS design is relatively large, since it has to remove and store eight hours worth of carbon dioxide (CO2). If the sorbent regeneration can be carried out during the EVA with a relatively high regeneration frequency, the size of the sorbent canister and weight can be significantly reduced.
Technical Paper

Model Calibration Experiments in Support of Metabolic Heat Regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption Technology

2007-07-09
2007-01-3273
Metabolic heat regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption (MTSA) technology is being developed to address carbon dioxide (CO2) and heat removal/rejection in a Mars Portable Life Support System (PLSS). The technology utilizes an adsorbent that when cooled with liquid CO2 to near sublimation temperatures (∼195 K) removes metabolically-produced CO2 in the ventilation loop. Once fully loaded, the adsorbent is then warmed (∼300 K) externally by the ventilation loop, rejecting the captured CO2 to Mars ambient. Two beds are used to provide a continuous cycle of CO2 removal/rejection as well as facilitate heat exchange out of the ventilation loop. To investigate the feasibility of the technology, a series of model calibration experiments were conducted which lead to the selection and partial characterization of an appropriate adsorbent.
Technical Paper

Demonstration of Metabolic Heat Regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption Technology

2007-07-09
2007-01-3274
Patent-pending Metabolic heat regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption (MTSA) technology is currently being investigated for removal and rejection of carbon dioxide (CO2) and heat from a Portable Life Support System (PLSS) to a Martian environment. The metabolically-produced CO2 present in the ventilation loop gas is collected using a CO2 selective adsorbent that has been cooled via a heat exchanger to near CO2 sublimation temperatures (∼195 K) with liquid CO2 (LCO2) obtained from Martian resources. Once the adsorbent is fully loaded, used, warm (∼300 K), moist ventilation loop gas is used to heat the adsorbent via another heat exchanger to reject the collected CO2 to the Martian ambient. Two beds are used to achieve continuous CO2 removal by cycling between the cold and warm conditions for adsorbent loading and regeneration, respectively.
Technical Paper

Space Suit Radiator Performance in Lunar and Mars Environments

2007-07-09
2007-01-3275
During an ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA), both the heat generated by the astronaut's metabolism and that produced by the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) must be rejected to space. The heat sources include the heat of adsorption of metabolic CO2, the heat of condensation of water, the heat removed from the body by the liquid cooling garment and the load from the electrical components. Although the sublimator hardware to reject this load weighs only 1.58 kg (3.48 lbm), an additional 3.6 kg (8 lbm) of water are loaded into the unit, most of which is sublimated and lost to space, thus becoming the single largest expendable during an eight-hour EVA. Using a radiator to reject heat from the astronaut during an EVA can reduce the amount of expendable water consumed in the sublimator. Last year we reported on the design and initial operational assessment tests of a novel radiator designated the Radiator And Freeze Tolerant heat eXchanger (RAFT-X).
Technical Paper

Concurrent CO2 Control and O2 Generation for Space Suits and Other Advanced Life Support: A Feasibility Study

2007-07-09
2007-01-3247
The partial electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) using ceramic oxygen generators (COGs) is well known and widely studied. Conventional COGs use yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolytes and operate at temperatures greater than 700 °C. Operating at a lower temperature has the advantage of reducing the mass of the ancillary components such as insulation and heat exchangers (to reduce the COG oxygen output temperature for comfortable inhalation). Moreover, complete reduction of metabolically produced CO2 (into carbon and oxygen) has the potential of reducing oxygen storage weight if the oxygen can be recovered. Recently, the University of Florida developed novel ceramic oxygen generators employing a bilayer electrolyte of gadolinia-doped ceria and erbia-stabilized bismuth oxide (ESB) for NASA's future exploration of Mars.
Technical Paper

Helmet Exhalation Capture System (HECS) Sizing Evaluation for an Advanced Space Suit Portable Life Support System

2008-06-29
2008-01-2117
As part of NASA's initiative to develop an advanced portable life support system (PLSS), a baseline schematic has been chosen that includes gaseous oxygen in a closed circuit ventilation configuration. Supply oxygen enters the suit at the back of the helmet, passes over the astronaut's body, and is extracted at the astronaut's wrists and ankles through the liquid cooling and ventilation garment (LCVG). The extracted gases are then treated using a rapid cycling amine (RCA) system for carbon dioxide and water removal and activated carbon for trace gas removal before being mixed with makeup oxygen and reintroduced into the helmet. Thermal control is provided by a suit water membrane evaporator (SWME). As an extension of the original schematic development, NASA evaluated several Helmet Exhalation Capture System (HECS) configurations as alternatives to the baseline.
Technical Paper

Testing, Modeling and System Impact of Metabolic Heat Regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption

2008-06-29
2008-01-2116
Metabolic heat regenerated temperature swing adsorption (MTSA) technology is being developed for removal and rejection of carbon dioxide (CO2) and heat from a portable life support system (PLSS) to the Martian environment. Previously, hardware was built and tested to demonstrate using heat from simulated, dry ventilation loop gas to affect the temperature swing required to regenerate an adsorbent used for CO2 removal. New testing has been performed using a moist, simulated ventilation loop gas to demonstrate the effects of water condensing and freezing in the heat exchanger during adsorbent regeneration. Also, the impact of MTSA on PLSS design was evaluated by performing thermal balances assuming a specific PLSS architecture. Results using NASA's Extravehicular Activity System Sizing Analysis Tool (EVAS_SAT), a PLSS system evaluation tool, are presented.
Technical Paper

Ventilation Transport Trade Study for Future Space Suit Life Support Systems

2008-06-29
2008-01-2115
A new and advanced portable life support system (PLSS) for space suit surface exploration will require a durable, compact, and energy efficient system to transport the ventilation stream through the space suit. Current space suits used by NASA circulate the ventilation stream via a ball-bearing supported centrifugal fan. As NASA enters the design phase for the next generation PLSS, it is necessary to evaluate available technologies to determine what improvements can be made in mass, volume, power, and reliability for a ventilation transport system. Several air movement devices already designed for commercial, military, and space applications are optimized in these areas and could be adapted for EVA use. This paper summarizes the efforts to identify and compare the latest fan and bearing technologies to determine candidates for the next generation PLSS.
Technical Paper

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment (TMG) Thermal Performance Study

1996-07-01
961425
The Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment (TMG) is the outer portion of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). The TMG minimizes the amount of heat transfer between an astronaut and the space environment, and provides protection from micrometeoroids. Multilayer insulation separates the outer surface of the TMG from the inner surface and crewperson. The performance of the present TMG insulation may be a contributing factor to the cold discomfort experienced by the astronauts. The TMG Thermal Performance Study tested combinations of insulation materials based on thermal conditions, total heat transfer, and insulation properties. The results from this study will be used to support design refinements for future developments of an extravehicular mobility unit.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Condensing Ice Heat Exchangers for MTSA Technology Development

2009-07-12
2009-01-2387
Metabolic heat regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption (MTSA) technology is being developed for thermal and carbon dioxide (CO2) control for a Portable Life Support System (PLSS), as well as water recycling. CO2 removal and rejection is accomplished by driving a sorbent through a temperature swing starting at below freezing temperatures. The swing is completed by warming the sorbent with a separate condensing ice heat exchanger (CIHX) using metabolic heat from moist ventilation gas. The condensed humidity in the ventilation gas is recycled at the habitat. Designing a heat exchanger to efficiently transfer this energy to the sorbent bed and allow the collection of the water is a challenge since the CIHX will operate in a temperature range from 210 K to 280 K. The ventilation gas moisture will first freeze and then thaw, sometimes existing in three phases simultaneously.
Technical Paper

PLSS Scale Demonstration of MTSA Temperature Swing Adsorption Bed Concept for CO2 Removal/Rejection

2009-07-12
2009-01-2388
Metabolic heat regenerated temperature swing adsorption (MTSA) that is incorporated into a Portable Life Support System (PLSS) is being explored as a viable means of removing and rejecting carbon dioxide (CO2) from an astronaut's ventilation loop. Sorbent pellets, which were used in previous work, are inherently difficult to heat and cool quickly. Further, their use in packed beds creates a large, undesirable pressure drop. Work has thus been done to assess the application and performance of aluminum foam that has been washcoated with a layer of sorbent. A to-scale sorbent bed, which is envisioned for use by a Martian PLSS, was designed, built, and tested. Performance of the assembly in regards to CO2 adsorption and pressure drop was assessed, and the results are presented here.
Technical Paper

Heat Exchanger/Humidifier Trade Study and Conceptual Design for the Constellation Spacesuit Portable Life Support System Ventilation Subsystem

2009-07-12
2009-01-2386
As development of the Constellation spacesuit element progresses, designing the most effective and efficient life support systems is critical. The baseline schematic analysis for the Portable Life Support System indicates that the ventilation loop will need some method of heat exchange and humidification prior to entering the helmet. A trade study was initiated to identify the challenges that are associated with conditioning the spacesuit breathing gas stream for temperature and water vapor control; to survey technological literature and resources on heat exchanger and humidifiers to provide solutions to the problems of conditioning the spacesuit breathing gas stream; and to propose potential candidate technologies to perform the heat exchanger and humidifier functions. This paper summarizes the results of this trade study, and also describes the conceptual designs that NASA developed to address these issues.
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