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Technical Paper

Wissler Simulations of a Liquid Cooled and Ventilation Garment (LCVG) for Extravehicular Activity (EVA)

In order to provide effective cooling for astronauts during extravehicular activities (EVAs), a liquid cooling and ventilation garment (LCVG) is used to remove heat by a series of tubes through which cooling water is circulated. To better predict the effectiveness of the LCVG and determine possible modifications to improve performance, computer simulations dealing with the interaction of the cooling garment with the human body have been run using the Wissler Human Thermal Model. Simulations have been conducted to predict the heat removal rate for various liquid cooled garment configurations. The current LCVG uses 48 cooling tubes woven into a fabric with cooling water flowing through the tubes. The purpose of the current project is to decrease the overall weight of the LCVG system. In order to achieve this weight reduction, advances in the garment heat removal rates need to be obtained.
Technical Paper

Thermal Performance of Space Suit Elements with Aerogel Insulation for Moon and Mars Exploration

Flexible fiber-reinforced aerogel composites were studied for use as insulation materials of a future space suit for Moon and Mars exploration. High flexibility and good thermal insulation properties of fiber-reinforced silica aerogel composites at both high and low vacuum conditions make it a promising insulation candidate for the space suit application. This paper first presents the results of a durability (mechanical cycling) study of these aerogels composites in the context of retaining their thermal performance. The study shows that some of these Aerogels materials retained most of their insulation performance after up to 250,000 cycles of mechanical flex cycling. This paper also examines the problem of integrating these flexible aerogel composites into the current space suit elements.
Technical Paper

Thermal Conductivity of Lofty Nonwovens in Space and Planetary Vacuum Environment

For planetary exploration, new thermal insulation materials are needed to deal with unique environmental conditions presented to extravehicular activity (EVA). The thermal insulation material and system used in the existing space suit were specifically designed for low orbit environment. They are not adequate for low vacuum condition commonly found in planetary environments with a gas atmosphere. This study attempts to identify the types of lofty nonwoven thermal insulation materials and the construction parameters that yield the best performance for such application. Lofty nonwovens with different construction parameters are evaluated for their thermal conductivity performance. Three different types of fiber material: solid round fiber, hollow fiber, and grooved fiber, with various denier, needling intensity, and web density were evaluated.
Technical Paper

Thermal Analysis of Lightweight Liquid Cooling Garments Using Highly Conductive Materials

This paper presents the analysis findings of a study reducing the overall mass of the lightweight liquid cooling garment (LCG). The LCG is a garment worn by crew to actively cool the body, for spacesuits and launch/entry suits. A mass reduction of 66% was desired for advanced missions. A thermal math model of the LCG was developed to predict its performance when various mass-reducing changes were implemented. Changes included varying the thermal conductivity and thickness of the garment or of the coolant tubes servicing the garment. A second model was developed to predict behavior of the suit when the cooling tubes were to be removed, and replaced with a highly-conducting (waterless) material. Findings are presented that show significant reductions in weight are theoretically possible by improving conductivity in the garment material.
Technical Paper

Preliminary Development of a Suit Port for Planetary Surface EVA — Design Studies

This paper present a summary of the design studies for the suit port proof of concept. The Suit Port reduces the need for airlocks by docking the suits directly to a rover or habitat bulkhead. The benefits include reductions in cycle time and consumables traditionally used when transferring from a pressurized compartment to EVA and mitigation of planetary surface dust from entering into the cabin. The design focused on the development of an operational proof of concept evaluated against technical feasibility, level of confidence in design, robustness to environment and failure, and the manufacturability. A future paper will discuss the overall proof of concept and provide results from evaluation testing including gas leakage rates upon completion of the testing program.
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

Modifications of Physiological Processes Concerning Extravehicular Activity in Microgravity

The incidence of DCS in null gravity appears to be considerably less than predicted by 1-g experiments. In NASA studies in 1-g, 83% of the incidents of DCS occur in the legs. We report first on a study with a crossover design that indicated a considerable reduction in the decompression Doppler bubble grade in the lower extremities in subjects in simulated microgravity (bed rest) as compared to themselves when ambulatory in unit gravity. Second we describe the results of a cardiovascular deconditioning study using a tail-suspended rat model. Since there may be a reduction in bubble production in 0-g, this would reduce the possibility of acquiring neurological DCS, especially by arterial gas embolism. Further, cardiovascular deconditioning appears to reduce the pulmonary artery hypertension (secondary to gas embolization) necessary to effect arterialization of bubbles.
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

Mechanical Properties and Durability Study of Aerogel-Base Thermal Insulation for Advanced Space Suit

Fiber-reinforced Aerogel composite insulations provide superior thermal insulation protection in both the low-earth orbit (LEO) and near-earth neighborhood planetary environments. The flexible nature and thermal properties of these materials make them the best insulation candidates for advanced space suit application. This paper reviews the properties of various Aerogel composite materials developed for NASA by Aspen Systems, Inc. Previous studies showed that the Aerogel materials retained acceptable thermal performance after some amount of mechanical cycling. The goal of the current work is to reach a complete understanding of the mechanical properties of these materials in the domain of space suit application. Hence, a good knowledge of the durability of the aerogel composites is needed. This paper presents the extensive testing program needed to determine the life of these insulations for advanced space suit application.
Technical Paper

Interactive Simulation-Based Testing of Product Gas Transfer Integrated Monitoring and Control Software for the Lunar Mars Life Support Phase III Test

Gas transfer systems in a closed life support test were controlled by intelligent layered monitoring and control software. Interactive simulation-based testing was used for system-level validation of the discrete sequencer layer of the software. An advanced discrete event simulation tool was used to model diverse components and systems for processing gases in a plant growth chamber, crew chamber and incinerator, and transferring gases between chambers. Models included physico-chemical and biological gas processors, pumps, concentrators, chambers and tanks, and devices for configuring and controlling gas transfer. Several types of control were modeled. This paper describes the models, the testing approach, and some results of the testing.
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.
Technical Paper

Flexible Fabrics with High Thermal Conductivity for Advanced Spacesuits

This paper describes the effort and accomplishments for developing flexible fabrics with high thermal conductivity (FFHTC) for spacesuits to improve thermal performance, lower weight and reduce complexity. Commercial and additional space exploration applications that require substantial performance enhancements in removal and transport of heat away from equipment as well as from the human body can benefit from this technology. Improvements in thermal conductivity were achieved through the use of modified polymers containing thermally conductive additives. The objective of the FFHTC effort is to significantly improve the thermal conductivity of the liquid cooled ventilation garment by improving the thermal conductivity of the subcomponents (i.e., fabric and plastic tubes).
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

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

Development Status of the VPCAR Water Processor Assembly

The purification of waste water is a critical element of any long-duration space mission. The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system offers the promise of a technology requiring low quantities of expendable material that is suitable for exploration missions. NASA has funded an effort to produce an engineering development unit specifically targeted for integration into the NASA Johnson Space Center's Integrated Human Exploration Mission Simulation Facility (INTEGRITY) formally known in part as the Bioregenerative Planetary Life Support Test Complex (Bio-Plex) and the Advanced Water Recovery System Development Facility. The system includes a Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk (WFRD) evaporator redesigned with micro-gravity operation enhancements, which evaporates wastewater and produces water vapor with only volatile components as contaminants. Volatile contaminants, including organics and ammonia, are oxidized in a catalytic reactor while they are in the vapor phase.
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

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

Advanced Airlock Concept Studies for Exploration Surface Systems

This paper presents results of advanced airlock concept studies conducted at the NASA Johnson Space Center in support of exploration surface systems, such as lunar lander airlocks and other advanced vehicle airlocks. The studies include preliminary requirements for advanced airlocks, and rationale for using the rear-entry space suit as the basic advanced suit design to be accommodated by the airlocks. The studies also present rationale for minimum volume airlocks and gas reclamation methods needed for long duration missions. Another study shows conceptual designs for single person airlocks, dual person airlocks, and multi-person airlocks, along with associated benefits and disadvantages of each. A test and selection methodology is also discussed for future airlock development.
Technical Paper

A Total Organic Carbon Analyzer for Space Potable Water Systems

A Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Analyzer has been developed for a Life Sciences Risk Mitigation Flight Experiment to be conducted on Spacehab and the Russian space station, Mir. Initial launch is scheduled for December 1996 (flight STS-81). The analyzer will be tested on the Orbiter in the Spacehab module, including when the Orbiter is docked at the Mir space station. The analyzer is scheduled to be launched again in May 1997 (STS-84) when it will be transferred to Mir. During both flights the analyzer will measure the quality of recycled and ground-supplied potable water on the space station. Samples will be archived for later return to the ground, where they will be analyzed for comparison to in-flight results. Water test samples of known composition, brought up with the analyzer, also will be used to test its performance in microgravity. Ground-based analyses of duplicates of those test samples will be conducted concurrently with the in-flight analyses.