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Journal Article

A Freezable Heat Exchanger for Space Suit Radiator Systems

2008-06-29
2008-01-2111
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, the load from the electrical components and incident radiation. 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. Radiators have no moving parts and are thus simple and highly reliable. However, past freezable radiators have been too heavy.
Journal Article

A History of Space Toxicology Mishaps: Lessons Learned and Risk Management

2009-07-12
2009-01-2591
After several decades of human spaceflight, the community of space-faring nations has accumulated a diverse and sometimes harrowing history of toxicological events that have plagued human space endeavors almost from the very beginning. Some lessons have been learned in ground-based test beds and others were discovered the hard way - when human lives were at stake in space. From such lessons one can build a risk-management framework for toxicological events to minimize the probability of a harmful exposure, while recognizing that we cannot predict all possible events. Space toxicologists have learned that relatively harmless compounds can be converted by air revitalization systems into compounds that cause serious harm to the crew.
Technical Paper

A Test Plan for Sensitivity of Hollow Fiber Spacesuit Water Membrane Evaporator Systems to Potable Water Constituents, Contaminants and Air Bubbles

2008-06-29
2008-01-2113
The Spacesuit Water Membrane Evaporator (SWME) is the baseline heat rejection technology selected for development for the Constellation lunar suit. The first SWME prototype, designed, built, and tested at Johnson Space Center in 1999 used a Teflon hydrophobic porous membrane sheet shaped into an annulus to provide cooling to the coolant loop through water evaporation to the vacuum of space. This present study describes the test methodology and planning to compare the test performance of three commercially available hollow fiber materials as alternatives to the sheet membrane prototype for SWME, in particular, a porous hydrophobic polypropylene, and two variants that employ ion exchange through non-porous hydrophilic modified Nafion. Contamination tests will be performed to probe for sensitivities of the candidate SWME elements to ordinary constituents that are expected to be found in the potable water provided by the vehicle, the target feedwater source.
Technical Paper

Advanced Design Heat Pump/Radiator for EVA Suits

2009-07-12
2009-01-2406
Absorption cooling using a lithium chloride/water heat pump can enable lightweight and effective thermal control for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits without venting water to the environment. The key components in the system are an absorber/radiator that rejects heat to space and a flexible evaporation cooling garment that absorbs heat from the crew member, This paper describes progress in the design, development, and testing of the absorber/radiator and evaporation cooling garment. New design concepts and fabrication approaches will significantly reduce the mass of the absorber/radiator. We have also identified materials and demonstrated fabrication approaches for production of a flexible evaporation cooling garment, Data from tests of the system's modular components have validated the design models and allowed predictions of the size and weight of a complete system.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Equivalent System Mass (ESM) of Yeast and Flat Bread Systems

2003-07-07
2003-01-2618
The Equivalent System Mass (ESM) metric developed by NASA describes and compares individual system impact on a closed system in terms of a single parameter, mass. The food system of a Mars mission may encompass a large percentage of total mission ESM, and decreasing this ESM would be beneficial. Yeast breads were made using three methods (hand & oven, bread machine, mixer with dough hook attachment & oven). Flat breads were made using four methods (hand & oven, hand & griddle, mixer with dough hook attachment & oven, mixer with dough hook attachment & griddle). Two formulations were used for each bread system (scratch ingredients, commercial mix). ESM was calculated for each of these scenarios. The objective of this study was to compare the ESM of yeast and flat bread production for a Martian surface outpost. Method (equipment) for both types of bread production was demonstrated to be the most significant influence of ESM when one equipment use was assumed.
Journal Article

Design Description and Initial Characterization Testing of an Active Heat Rejection Radiator with Digital Turn-Down Capability

2009-07-12
2009-01-2419
NASA's proposed lunar lander, Altair, will be exposed to vastly different external temperatures following launch till its final destination on the moon. In addition, the heat rejection is lowest at the lowest environmental temperatures (0.5 kW @ 4K) and highest at the highest environmental temperature (4.5 kW @ 215K). This places a severe demand on the radiator design to handle these extreme turn-down requirements. A radiator with digital turn-down capability is currently under study at JPL as a robust means to meet the heat rejection demands and provide freeze protection while minimizing mass and power consumption. Turndown is achieved by independent control of flow branches with isolating latch valves and a gear pump to evacuate the isolated branches. A bench-top test was conducted to characterize the digital radiator concept. Testing focused on the demonstration of proper valve sequencing to achieve turn-down and recharge of flow legs.
Technical Paper

Development, Performance and Flight Test Results of the Cabin Air Cleaner (CAC) for the Shuttle Orbiter

1994-06-01
941253
Debris and particulate filtration problems have been persistent during flights on the Space Shuttle Orbiter since STS-6. Analysis of the Orbiter Environmental and Life Support System (ECLSS) indicated that both the volumetric flows and velocities were essentially designed for ventilation, heat removal, and gas blending with minimal consideration for debris removal. The baseline Orbiter filtration system consisted of a single 300 micron filter at the inlet of the cabin fan primarily to protect the cabin fan hardware. This filter was increased to 70 microns and additional filters added after some hardware failures occurred. However, these changes did not clean the environment as expected. An evaluation of the size and type of debris in the cabin air determined that the debris is able to “short-circuit” the cabin filtration system and remains in the cabin air causing the crew discomfort.
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

Equivalent System Mass of Producing Yeast and Flat Breads from Wheat Berries, A Comparison of Mill Type

2004-07-19
2004-01-2525
Wheat is a candidate crop for the Advanced Life Support (ALS) system, and cereal grains and their products will be included on long-term space missions beyond low earth orbit. While the exact supply scenario has yet to be determined, some type of post-processing of these grains must occur if they are shipped as bulk ingredients or grown on site for use in foods. Understanding the requirements for processing grains in space is essential for incorporating the process into the ALS food system. The ESM metric developed by NASA describes and compares individual system impact on a closed system in terms of a single parameter, mass. The objective of this study was to compare the impact of grain mill type on the ESM of producing yeast and flat breads. Hard red spring wheat berries were ground using a Brabender Quadrumat Jr. or the Kitchen-Aid grain mill attachment (both are proposed post-harvest technologies for the ALS system) to produce white and whole wheat flour, respectively.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Methods for Remediating Biofilms in Spacecraft Potable Water Systems

1994-06-01
941388
Controlling microbial growth and biofilm formation in spacecraft water-distribution systems is necessary to protect the health of the crew. Methods to decontaminate the water system in flight may be needed to support long-term missions. We evaluated the ability of iodine and ozone to kill attached bacteria and remove biofilms formed on stainless steel coupons. The biofilms were developed by placing the coupons in a manifold attached to the effluent line of a simulated spacecraft water-distribution system. After biofilms were established, the coupons were removed and placed in a treatment manifold in a separate water treatment system where they were exposed to the chemical treatments for various periods. Disinfection efficiency over time was measured by counting the bacteria that could be recovered from the coupons using a sonication and plate count technique. Scanning electron microscopy was also used to determine whether the treatments actually removed the biofilm.
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

First Lunar Outpost Extravehicular Life Support System Evaluation

1993-07-01
932188
A preliminary evaluation of several portable life support system (PLSS) concepts which could be used during the First Lunar Outpost (FLO) mission extravehicular activities (EVA's) has been performed. The weight, volume and consumables characteristics for the various PLSS concepts were estimated. Thermal effects of day and night EVA's on PLSS consumables usage and hardware requirements were evaluated. The benefit of adding a radiator and the total PLSS weight to be carried by the astronaut were also evaluated for each of the concepts. The results of the evaluation were used to provide baseline weight, volume and consumables characteristics of the PLSS to be used on the 45 day FLO mission. The benefit of radiators was shown to be substantial. Considerable consumables savings were predicted for EVA schedules with a high concentration of nighttime EVA's versus daytime EVA's.
Technical Paper

Freeze Tolerant Radiator for Advanced EMU

2004-07-19
2004-01-2263
The current Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) system provides thermal control using a sublimator to reject both the heat produced by the astronaut's metabolic activity as well as the heat produced by the Portable Life Support Unit (PLSS). This sublimator vents up to eight pounds of water each Extravehicular Activity (EVA). If this load could be radiated to space, the amount of water that would need to be sublimated could be greatly reduced. There is enough surface area on the EMU that almost all of the heat can be rejected by radiation. Radiators, however, reject heat at a relatively constant rate, while the astronaut generates heat at a variable rate. To accommodate this variable heat load, NASA is developing a new freeze tolerant radiator where the tubes can selectively freeze to “turn down” the radiator and adjust to the heat rejection requirement. This radiator design significantly reduces the amount of expendable water needed for the sublimator.
Technical Paper

High Temperature Lift Heat Pump Refrigerant and Thermodynamic Cycle Selection

1994-06-01
941272
This paper describes the process and analysis used to select a refrigerant and thermodynamic cycle as the basis of a vapor compression heat pump requiring a high temperature lift. Use of a vapor compression heat pump versus other types was based on prior work performed for the Electric Power Research Institute. A high lift heat pump is needed to enable a thermal control system to remove heat down to 275K from a habitable volume when the external thermal environment is severe. For example, a long term habitat will reject heat from a space radiator to a 325K environment. The first step in the selection process was to perform an optimization trade study, quantifying the effect of radiator operating temperature and heat pump efficiency on total system mass; then, select the radiator operating temperature corresponding to the lowest system mass. Total system mass included radiators, all heat pump components and the power supply system.
Technical Paper

Inhibition of Biofilm Formation on the Service and Performance Heat Exchanger by Quorum Sensing Inhibition

2007-07-09
2007-01-3143
Shortly after installation of the service and performance heat exchanger (SPCU HX) in 2001, samples collected from the coolant fluid indicated the presence of nickel accompanied by a subsequent decrease in phosphate concentration along with a high microbial load. When the SPCU HX was replaced and evaluated post-flight, it was expected that the heat exchanger would have significant biofilm and corrosion present given the composition of the coolant fluid; however, there was no evidence of either. Early results from two experiments imply that the heat exchanger materials themselves are inhibiting biofilm formation. This paper discusses the results of one set of experiments and puts forward the inhibition of quorum sensing as a possible mechanism for the lack of biofilm formation.
Technical Paper

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

2006-07-17
2006-01-2201
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

Lightweight, Flexible, and Freezable Heat Pump/Radiator for EVA Suits

2008-06-29
2008-01-2112
We have completed preliminary tests that show the feasibility of an innovative concept for a spacesuit thermal control system using a lightweight, flexible heat pump/radiator. The heat pump/radiator is part of a regenerable LiCI/water absorption cooling device that absorbs an astronaut's metabolic heat and rejects it to the environment via thermal radiation at a relatively high temperature. We identified key design specifications for the system, demonstrated that it is feasible to fabricate the flexible radiator, measured the heat rejection capability of the radiator, and assessed the effects on overall mass of the PLSS. We specified system design features that will enable the flexible absorber/radiator to operate in a wide range of space exploration environments. The materials used to fabricate the flexible absorber/radiator samples were all found to be low off-gassing and many have already been qualified for use in space.
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

Orbiter Flash Evaporator: Flight Experience and Improvements

1997-07-01
972262
The Flash Evaporator Subsystem (FES) provides active cooling for the Shuttle Orbiter vehicle during the ascent and re-entry phases of the flight and provides supplemental cooling to the radiators while on-orbit. This paper describes the design and operation of the FES and summarizes the operational flight experience to date. As the fleet of orbiters grows older, contamination and corrosion are two issues on which attention has focused. A discussion of these conditions and the subsequent design changes and operational workarounds will be summarized.
Technical Paper

Overview of NASA's Thermal Control System Development for Exploration Project

2009-07-12
2009-01-2436
NASA's Constellation Program includes the Orion, Altair, and Lunar Surface Systems (LSS) project offices. The first two elements, Orion and Altair, are manned space vehicles while the third element is broader and includes several subelements including Rovers and a Lunar Habitat. The upcoming planned missions involving these systems and vehicles include several risks and design challenges. Due to the unique thermal environment, many of these risks and challenges are associated with the vehicles' thermal control system. NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) includes the Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP). ETDP consists of several technology development projects. The project chartered with mitigating the aforementioned risks and design challenges is the Thermal Control System Development for Exploration Project.
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