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Technical Paper

Zero-Venting, Regenerable, Lightweight Heat Rejection for EVA Suits

Future space exploration missions will require a lightweight spacesuit that expends no consumables. This paper describes the design and performance of a prototype heat rejection system that weighs less than current systems and vents zero water. The system uses regenerable LiCl/water absorption cooling. Absorption cooling boosts the heat absorbed from the crew member to a high temperature for rejection to space from a compact, non-venting radiator. The system is regenerated by heating to 100°C for two hours. The system provides refrigeration at 17°C and rejects heat at temperatures greater than 50°C. The overall cooling capacity is over 100 W-hr/kg.
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

Weathering of Thermal Control Coatings

Spacecraft radiators reject heat to their surroundings. Radiators can be deployable or mounted on the body of the spacecraft. NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle is to use body mounted radiators. Coatings play an important role in heat rejection. The coatings provide the radiator surface with the desired optical properties of low solar absorptance and high infrared emittance. These specialized surfaces are applied to the radiator panel in a number of ways, including conventional spraying, plasma spraying, or as an appliqué. Not specifically designed for a weathering environment, little is known about the durability of conventional paints, coatings, and appliqués upon exposure to weathering and subsequent exposure to solar wind and ultraviolet radiation exposure. In addition to maintaining their desired optical properties, the coatings must also continue to adhere to the underlying radiator panel.
Technical Paper

Waste and Hygiene Compartment for the International Space Station

The Waste and Hygiene Compartment will serve as the primary facility for metabolic waste management and personal hygiene on the United States segment of the International Space Station. The Compartment encloses the volume of two standard ISS racks and will be installed into Node 3 after launch inside a Multipurpose Logistics Module on the Space Shuttle. Long duration space flight requires a departure from the established hygiene and waste disposal practices employed on the Space Shuttle. This paper describes requirements and a conceptual design for the Waste and Hygiene Compartment that are both logistically practical and acceptable to the crew.
Technical Paper

Ventilation Transport Trade Study for Future Space Suit Life Support Systems

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

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

Utilization of On-Site Resources for Regenerative Life Support Systems at Lunar and Martian Outposts

Lunar and martian materials can be processed and used at planetary outposts to reduce the need (and thus the cost) of transporting supplies from Earth. A variety of uses for indigenous, on-site materials have been suggested, including uses as rocket propellants, construction materials, and life support materials. Utilization of on-site resources will supplement Regenerative Life Support Systems (RLSS) that will be needed to regenerate air, water, and wastes, and to produce food (e.g., plants) for human consumption during long-duration space missions.
Technical Paper

Using a Sweating Manikin, Controlled by a Human Physiological Model, to Evaluate Liquid Cooling Garments

An Advanced Automotive Manikin (ADAM), is used to evaluate liquid cooling garments (LCG) for advanced space suits for extravehicular applications and launch and entry suits. The manikin is controlled by a finite-element physiological model of the human thermoregulatory system. ADAM's thermal response to a baseline LCG was measured.The local effectiveness of the LCG was determined. These new thermal comfort tools permit detailed, repeatable measurements and evaluation of LCGs. Results can extend to other personal protective clothing including HAZMAT suits, nuclear/biological/ chemical protective suits, fire protection suits, etc.
Technical Paper

Ultralight Fabric Reflux Tube (UFRT) Thermal/Vacuum Test

Spacecraft thermal control systems are essential to provide the necessary thermal environment for the crew and to ensure that the equipment functions adequately on space missions. The Ultralight Fabric Reflux Tube (UFRT) was developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a lightweight radiator concept to be used on planetary surface-type missions (e.g., Moon, Mars). The UFRT consists of a thin-walled tube (acting as the fluid boundary), overwrapped with a low-mass ceramic fabric (acting as the primary pressure boundary). The tubes are placed in an array in the vertical position with the evaporators at the lower end. Heat is added to the evaporators, which vaporizes the working fluid. The vapor travels to the condenser end section and condenses on the inner wall of the thin-walled tube. The resulting latent heat is radiated to the environment. The fluid condensed on the tube wall is then returned to the evaporator by gravity.
Journal Article

Ultra-Compact Power System for Long-Endurance Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

Air-launched Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUASs) provide critical information to warfighters, but are currently limited by the power and energy available from small electric propulsion systems. This paper describes proof-of-concept testing of a novel power system for SUASs. The power system comprises a compact hydrogen generator and a hydrogen PEM fuel cell. The hydrogen generator uses ammonia borane (AB) as a solid chemical hydrogen storage material and heats the AB to produce hydrogen through thermal decomposition. The innovative ignition and control process generates highly pure hydrogen on-demand from a system that is very compact, lightweight, and rugged. We built a proof-of-concept hydrogen generator and used it to supply hydrogen to a small PEM fuel cell. The proof-of-concept generator used prototypical AB, heat source, control scheme, and purification media to absorb trace amounts of ammonia, borazine, and carbon monoxide (CO).
Technical Paper

Toxicological Assessment of the International Space Station Atmosphere, Part 1

Space-faring crews must have safe breathing air throughout their missions to ensure adequate performance and good health. Toxicological assessment of air quality depends on applicable air-quality standards, measurements of pollutant concentrations, and crew reports of air quality. Samples of air were obtained during ingress and egress of the Zarya and Unity modules on missions 2A and 2A.1. The results from 2A suggest that trace pollutants were at safe levels and that there was good air exchange between the modules. Results from the 2A.1 flight also showed that trace pollutants were at acceptable concentrations; however, there was evidence of inadequate mixing between the modules during the hatch-open operations. Furthermore, the 2A.1 crew reported after the flight that the air quality seemed to cause symptoms during their operations in Zarya, particularly when more than one crewmember was working inside open panels for some time.
Technical Paper

Toxicological Assessment of the International Space Station Atmosphere with Emphasis on Metox Canister Regeneration

Space-faring crews must have safe breathing air throughout their missions to ensure adequate performance and good health. Toxicological assessment of air quality depends on the standards that define acceptable air quality, measurements of pollutant levels during the flight, and reports from the crew on their in-flight perceptions of air quality. Air samples returned from ISS on flights 8A, UF2, 9A, and 11A were analyzed for trace pollutants. On average, the air during this period of operations was safe for human respiration. However, about 3 hours into the regeneration of 2 Metox canisters in the U.S. airlock on 20 February 2002 the crew reported an intolerable odor that caused them to stop the regeneration, take refuge in the Russian segment, and scrub air in the U.S. segment for 30 hours. Analytical data from grab samples taken during the incident showed that the pollutants released were characteristic of nominal air pollutants, but were present in much higher concentrations.
Technical Paper

Toxicological Assessment of the International Space Station Atmosphere from Mission 5A to 8A

There are many sources of air pollution that can threaten air quality during space missions. The International Space Station (ISS) is an extremely complex platform that depends on a multi-tiered strategy to control the risk of excessive air pollution. During the seven missions surveyed by this report, the ISS atmosphere was in a safe, steady-state condition; however, there were minor loads added as new modules were attached. There was a series of leaks of octafluoropropane, which is not directly toxic to humans, but did cause changes in air purification operations that disrupted the steady state condition. In addition, off-nominal regeneration of metal oxide canisters used during extravehicular activity caused a serious pollution incident.
Technical Paper

Thermal Stabilization of Variable Loading, Multi-Evaporator Refrigeration Loops via Liquid Recirculation

Refrigeration systems with parallel evaporators are prone to systemic instabilities and thermal excursions, particularly under variable loading conditions. Conventional vapor compression systems require evaporators to discharge at very high vapor qualities to prevent liquid ingress to the compressor. This requires active control algorithms to regulate the flow to individual evaporators. This paper introduces a novel liquid recirculation loop that minimizes the effects of flow maldistribution and prevents dryout using passive components. The loop utilizes a refrigerant phase separator, in conjunction with passive inlet restrictions, to mitigate flow maldistribution and support larger evaporator mass flow rates corresponding to low-to-moderate exit qualities. With greater margin in exit quality before dryout occurs, thermal excursions at the evaporator outlets are readily avoided.
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 Interface Materials Based on Anchored Carbon Nanotubes

The new devices and missions to achieve the aims of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) are creating increasingly demanding thermal environments and applications. In particular, the low conductance of metal-to-metal interfaces used in the thermal switches lengthen the cool-down phase and resource usage for spacecraft instruments. During this work, we developed and tested a vacuum-compatible, durable, heat-conduction interface that employs carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays directly anchored on the mating metal surfaces via microwave plasma-enhanced, chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). We demonstrated that CNT-based thermal interface materials have the potential to exceed the performance of currently available options for thermal switches and other applications.
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

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 Walkback Test: A Study to Evaluate Suit and Life Support System Performance Requirements for a 10 Kilometer Lunar Traverse in a Planetary Suit

As planetary suit and planetary life support systems develop, specific design inputs for each system relate to a presently unanswered question concerning operational concepts: What distance can be considered a safe walking distance for a suited crew member exploring the surface of the Moon to ‘walkback’ to the habitat in the event of a rover breakdown, taking into consideration the planned extravehicular activity (EVA) tasks as well as the possible traverse back to the habitat? It has been assumed, based on Apollo program experience, that 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) will be the maximum EVA excursion distance from the lander or habitat to ensure the crew member's safe return to the habitat in the event of a rover failure. To investigate the feasibility of performing a suited 10 km walkback, NASA-JSC assembled a multi-disciplinary team to design and implement the ‘Lunar Walkback Test’.