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Technical Paper

Utilizing Exploration Life Support Technology on ISS - a Bold New Approach

A new life support approach is proposed for use on the International Space Station (ISS). This involves advanced technologies for water recovery and air revitalization, tested at the Johnson Space Center (JSC), including bioprocessing, reverse-osmosis and distillation, low power carbon dioxide removal, non-expendable trace contaminant control, and carbon dioxide reduction.
Technical Paper

Thermal Analysis of Compressible CO2 Flow for PFE TeSS Nozzle of Fire Detection System

A thermal analysis of the compressible carbon dioxide (CO2) flow for the Portable Fire Extinguisher (PFE) system has been performed. A SINDA/FLUINT model has been developed for this analysis. The model includes the PFE tank and the Temporary Sleep Station (TeSS) nozzle, and both have an initial temperature of 72 °F. In order to investigate the thermal effect on the nozzle due to discharging CO2, the PFE TeSS nozzle pipe has been divided into three segments. This model also includes heat transfer predictions for PFE tank inner and outer wall surfaces. The simulation results show that the CO2 discharge rates and component wall temperatures fall within the requirements for the PFE system. The simulation results also indicate that after 50 seconds, the remaining CO2 in the tank may be near the triple point (gas, liquid and solid) state and, therefore, restricts the flow.
Technical Paper

The Impact of Trace Contaminants on the Shuttle Orbiter Regenerative CO2 Removal System

There is a possibility that trace contaminants in the Shuttle Orbiter cabin atmosphere may chemically react with amine beads found in the Regenerative Carbon Dioxide Removal System and degrade system performance. Two contaminant compounds were exposed to the amine beads, and performance changes were measured. Acetone was tested because it is sometimes found in small but appreciable quantities in the cabin, and it has chemical properties that make it a potential poison. Halon 1301 was tested because it is the fire extinguishant, and a discharge of a Halon canister would trigger high concentrations in the cabin. Acetone was shown to be weakly and reversibly adsorbed. It does not poison the bed, and the RCRS was shown to remove small quantities of acetone. Halon was shown to be inert to the amine. It does not poison the RCRS, and is not removed by the RCRS.
Technical Paper

The Design and Testing of a Fully Redundant Regenerative CO2 Removal System (RCRS) for the Shuttle Orbiter

Research into increased capacity solid amine sorbents has found a candidate (SA9T) that will provide enough increase in cyclic carbon dioxide removal capacity to produce a fully redundant Regenerative Carbon Dioxide Removal System (RCRS). This system will eliminate the need for large quantities of backup LiOH, thus gaining critical storage space on board the shuttle orbiter. This new sorbent has shown an ability to package two fully redundant (four) sorbent beds together with their respective valves, fans and plumbing to create two operationally independent systems. The increase in CO2 removal capacity of the new sorbent will allow these two systems to fit within the envelope presently used by the RCRS. This paper reports on the sub-scale amine testing performed in support of the development effort. In addition, this paper will provide a preliminary design schematic of a fully redundant RCRS.
Technical Paper

Testing of an Integrated Air Revitalization System

Long-duration missions in space will require regenerative air revitalization processes. Human testing of these regenerative processes is necessary to provide focus to the system development process and to provide realistic metabolic and hygiene inputs. To this end, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC), under the sponsorship of NASA Headquarters Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications, is implementing an Early Human Testing (EHT) Project. As part of this project, an integrated physicochemical Air Revitalization System (ARS) is being developed and tested in JSC's Life Support Systems Integration Facility (LSSIF). The components of the ARS include a Four-Bed Molecular Sieve (4BMS) Subsystem for carbon dioxide (CO2) removal, a Sabatier CO2 Reduction Subsystem (CRS), and a Solid Polymer Electrolyte (SPE)™ Oxygen Generation Subsystem (OGS). A Trace Contaminant Control Subsystem (TCCS) will be incorporated at a later date.
Technical Paper

Testing of an Amine-Based Pressure-Swing System for Carbon Dioxide and Humidity Control

In a crewed spacecraft environment, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and moisture control are crucial. Hamilton Sundstrand has developed a stable and efficient amine-based CO2 and water vapor sorbent, SA9T, that is well suited for use in a spacecraft environment. The sorbent is efficiently packaged in pressure-swing regenerable beds that are thermally linked to improve removal efficiency and minimize vehicle thermal loads. Flows are all controlled with a single spool valve. This technology has been baselined for the new Orion spacecraft. However, more data was needed on the operational characteristics of the package in a simulated spacecraft environment. A unit was therefore tested with simulated metabolic loads in a closed chamber at Johnson Space Center during the last third of 2006. Tests were run at a variety of cabin temperatures and with a range of operating conditions varying cycle time, vacuum pressure, air flow rate, and crew activity levels.
Technical Paper

Sorbent Bed Acquisition and Compression of Carbon Dioxide from the Mars Atmosphere

Human exploration of Mars as well as unmanned sample return missions from Mars can benefit greatly from the use of propellants produced from the resources available from the atmosphere of Mars. The first major step of any in-situ propellant production (ISPP) system is to acquire carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Mars atmosphere and compress it for further chemical processing. One system that performs this step is called a Mars Atmosphere Acquisition and Compression (MAAC) unit. A simple prototype MAAC was developed by JPL as part of the Mars ISPP Precursor (MIP) experiment package for inclusion on the Mars 2001 Surveyor Lander. The MAAC consists of a valved enclosure packed with a sorbent material which selectively adsorbs CO2 from the Mars atmosphere (valves open), desorbs and compresses the acquired CO2 by heating (valves closed) and then delivers the pressurized CO2 to an oxygen generating system where the CO2 is electrolyzed to produce oxygen.
Technical Paper

SAWD II Subsystem Integration into the Variable Pressure Growth Chamber: A Systems Level Analysis Using CASE/A

The NASA Johnson Space Center has plans to integrate a Solid Amine Water Desorbed (SAWD II) carbon dioxide removal subsystem into the Variable Pressure Growth Chamber (VPGC). The SAWD II subsystem will be used to remove any excess carbon dioxide (CO2) input into the VPGC which is not assimilated by the plants growing in the chamber. An analysis of the integrated VPGC-SAWD II system was performed using a mathematical model of the system implemented in the Computer-Aided System Engineering and Analysis (CASE/A) package. The analysis consisted of an evaluation of the SAWD II subsystem configuration within the VPGC, the planned operations for the subsystem, and the overall performance of the subsystem and other VPGC subsystems. Based on the model runs, recommendations were made concerning the SAWD II subsystem configuration and operations, and the chambers' automatic CO2 injection control subsystem.
Technical Paper

Regenerative Life Support Systems Test Bed Performance: Lettuce Crop Characterization

Two crops of lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. Waldmann's Green) were grown in the Regenerative Life Support Systems (RLSS) Test Bed at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The RLSS Test Bed is an atmospherically closed, controlled environment facility for the evaluation of regenerative life support systems using higher plants. The chamber encloses 10.6 m2 of growth area under cool-white fluorescent lamps. Lettuce was double seeded in 480 pots, each containing about 250 cm3 of calcined-clay substrate. Each pot was irrigated with half-strength Hoagland's nutrient solution at an average total applied amount of 2.5 and 1.8 liters pot-1, respectively, over each of the two 30-day crop tests. Average environmental and cultural conditions during both tests were 23°C air temperature, 72% relative humidity, 1000 ppm carbon dioxide (CO2), 16h light/8h dark photoperiod, and 356 μmol m-2s-1 photosynthetic photon flux.
Technical Paper

Physiological Experience During Shuttle EVA

To date, 59 man-EVA's have been conducted in the Shuttle Program with minimum physiological problems or limitations. The physiological requirements for life support in the Shuttle EVA include pressure, gas composition, inspired CO2 pressure, heat- removal capability, in-suit water replacement, and caloric replacement. These requirements and their basis in verification testing or analysis are reviewed. The operational measures are identified. The suit pressure in combination with a gas composition of at least 92 percent assures that sufficient O2 pressure is available to the crewmember. The nominal suit pressure of 4.3 psi±0.1 psi was maintained during all 59 man-EVA's. The contingency suit pressure was never required to be used. The suit pressure in combination with the cabin pressure and pre-EVA denitrogenation procedures minimize the risk of altitude decompression sickness. There has been no incidence of decompression sickness during Shuttle EVA.
Technical Paper

Optimization of Vehicle Air Conditioning Systems Using Transient Air Conditioning Performance Analysis

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a transient air conditioning (A/C) system model using SINDA/FLUINT analysis software. It captures all the relevant physics of transient A/C system performance, including two-phase flow effects in the evaporator and condenser, system mass effects, air side heat transfer on the condenser/evaporator, vehicle speed effects, temperature-dependent properties, and integration with a simplified cabin thermal model. It has demonstrated robust and powerful system design optimization capabilities. Single-variable and multiple variable design optimizations have been performed and are presented. Various system performance parameters can be optimized, including system COP, cabin cool-down time, and system heat load capacity. This work presents this new transient A/C system analysis and optimization tool and shows some high-level system design conclusions reached to date.
Technical Paper

Operation of a Breadboard Liquid-Sorbent/Membrane-Contactor System for Removing Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor from Air

Processes to remove and recover carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor from air are essential for successful long-duration space missions. This paper presents results of a developmental program focused on the use of a liquid- sorbent/membrane-contactor (LSMC) system for removal of CO2 and water vapor from air. In this system, air from the spacecraft cabin atmosphere is circulated through one side of a hollow-fiber membrane contactor. On the other side of the membrane contactor is flowed a liquid sorbent, which absorbs the CO2 and water vapor from the feed air. The liquid sorbent is then heated to desorb the CO2 and water vapor. The CO2 is subsequently removed from the system as a concentrated gas stream, whereas the water vapor is condensed, producing a water stream. A breadboard system based on this technology was designed and constructed. Tests showed that the LSMC breadboard system can produce a CO2 stream and a liquid- water stream.
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.
Technical Paper

Nanoscale Materials for Human Spaceflight Applications: Regenerable Carbon Dioxide Removal Using Single-wall Carbon Nanotubes

The challenges of missions to the Moon and Mars presents NASA with the need for more advanced life support systems, including better technologies for CO2 removal in spacecraft atmospheres and extravehicular mobility units (EMU). Amine-coated single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) have been proposed as a potential solution because of their high surface area and thermal conductivity. Initial research demonstrated the need for functionalization of SWCNT to obtain optimal adherence of the amine to the SWCNT support phase [1]. Recent efforts focus on the development of new methods to chemically bond amines to SWCNT. Synthesis and characterization methods for these materials are discussed and some preliminary materials characterization data are presented. The CO2 adsorption capacity for several versions of SWCNT supported amine-based CO2 scrubber materials is also determined.
Technical Paper

Molecular Sieve CO2 Removal Systems for Future Missions: Test Results and Alternative Designs

Reversible adsorption on zeolite molecular sieve material allows selective removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from spacecraft air without the use of expendables. The four-bed molecular sieve (4BMS) CO2 removal subsystem chosen for use on space station is based on proven Skylab technology and provides continuous CO2 removal from the cabin atmosphere and concentration for further processing downstream or venting overboard. A 4BMS subsystem has also been chosen to remove CO2 from air in the Systems Integration Research Facility (SIRF) at NASA/Johnson Space Center (JSC). After installation in the SIRF in 1992, the subsystem underwent extensive testing in which cycle time, process air flow rate, and process air inlet CO2 composition were varied. In order to obtain performance data required for integration, the subsystem was operated under both nominal and off-nominal conditions. Results of this testing are presented.
Technical Paper

Measurement of Trace Water Vapor in a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly Product Stream

The International Space Station Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) uses regenerable adsorption technology to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from cabin air. CO2 product water vapor measurements from a CDRA test bed unit at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center were made using a tunable infrared diode laser differential absorption spectrometer (TILDAS) provided by NASA Glenn Research Center. The TILDAS instrument exceeded all the test specifications, including sensitivity, dynamic range, time response, and unattended operation. During the CO2 desorption phase, water vapor concentrations as low as 5 ppmv were observed near the peak of CO2 evolution, rising to levels of ∼40 ppmv at the end of a cycle. Periods of high water concentration (>100 ppmv) were detected and shown to be caused by an experimental artifact.
Technical Paper

Integrated Atmosphere Revitalization System Description and Test Results

Regenerative-type subsystems are being tested at JSC to provide atmosphere revitalization functions of oxygen supply and carbon dioxide (CO2) removal for a future Space Station. Oxygen is supplied by an electrolysis subsystem, developed by General Electric, Wilmington, Mass., which uses the product water from either the CO2 reduction subsystem or a water reclamation process. CO2 is removed and concentrated by an electrochemical process, developed by Life Systems, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. The concentrated CO2 is reduced in a Sabatier process with the hydrogen from the electrolysis process to water and methane. This subsystem is developed by Hamilton Standard, Windsor Locks, Conn. These subsystems are being integrated into an atmosphere revitalization group. This paper describes the integrated test configuration and the initial checkout test. The feasibility and design compatibility of these subsystems integrated into an air revitalization system is discussed.
Technical Paper

Impact of Engine Operating Conditions on Low-NOx Emissions in a Light-Duty CIDI Engine Using Advanced Fuels

The control of NOx emissions is the greatest technical challenge in meeting future emission regulations for diesel engines. In this work, a modal analysis was performed for developing an engine control strategy to take advantage of fuel properties to minimize engine-out NOx emissions. This work focused on the use of EGR to reduce NOx while counteracting anticipated PM increases by using oxygenated fuels. A DaimlerChrysler OM611 CIDI engine for light-duty vehicles was controlled with a SwRI Rapid Prototyping Electronic Control System. Engine mapping consisted of sweeping parameters of greatest NOx impact, starting with OEM injection timing (including pilot injection) and EGR. The engine control strategy consisted of increased EGR and simultaneous modulation of both main and pilot injection timing to minimize NOx and PM emission indexes with constraints based on the impact of the modulation on BSFC, Smoke, Boost and BSHC.
Technical Paper

Immobilized Microbe Microgravity Water Processing System (IMMWPS) Flight Experiment Integrated Ground Test Program

This paper provides an overview of the IMMWPS Integrated Ground Test Program, completed at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) during October and November 2001. The JSC Crew and Thermal Systems Division (CTSD) has developed the IMMWPS orbital flight experiment to test the feasibility of a microbe-based water purifier for use in zero-gravity conditions. The IMMWPS design utilizes a Microbial Processor Assembly (MPA) inoculated with facultative anaerobes to convert organic contaminants in wastewater to carbon dioxide and biomass. The primary purpose of the ground test program was to verify functional operations and procedures. A secondary objective was to provide initial ground data for later comparison to on-orbit performance. This paper provides a description of the overall test program, including the test article hardware and the test sequence performed to simulate the anticipated space flight test program. In addition, a summary of significant results from the testing is provided.
Technical Paper

Further Testing of an Amine-Based Pressure-Swing System for Carbon Dioxide and Humidity Control

In a crewed spacecraft environment, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and moisture control are crucial. Hamilton Sundstrand has developed a stable and efficient amine-based CO2 and water vapor sorbent, SA9T, that is well suited for use in a spacecraft environment. The sorbent is efficiently packaged in pressure-swing regenerable beds that are thermally linked to improve removal efficiency and minimize vehicle thermal loads. Flows are controlled with a single spool valve. This technology has been baselined for the new Orion spacecraft, but additional data was needed on the operational characteristics of the package in a simulated spacecraft environment. One unit was tested with simulated metabolic loads in a closed chamber at Johnson Space Center during the latter part of 2006. Those test results were reported in a 2007 ICES paper.