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Technical Paper

Programmable Thermostats for MPLM Shell Heater Control ULF1.1 Thermal Performances

The Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) is the primary carrier for “pressurized” logistics to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The MPLM is transported in the payload bay of the Space Shuttle and is docked to the ISS for unloading, and reloading, of contents within the ISS shirt sleeve environment. Foil heaters, controlled originally with bi-metallic thermostats, are distributed across the outside of the MPLM structure and are utilized to provide energy to the structure to avoid exposure to cold temperatures and prevent condensation. The existing bi-metallic, fixed temperature set point thermostats have been replaced with Programmable Thermostats Modules (PTMs) in the Passive Thermal Control Subsystem (PTCS) 28Vdc shell heater circuits. The goal of using the PTM thermostat is to improve operational efficiency of the MPLM on-orbit shell heaters by providing better shell temperature control via feedback control capability.
Technical Paper

Overview of the International Space Station, Mini-Pressurized Logistics Module, Environmental Control System

The Mini-Pressurized Logistics Module (MPLM), shown in Figure 1, is the primary vehicle for the transportation of equipment, scientific payloads, and supplies for use inside of the International Space Station, hence the importance of the MPLM environmental control system design. Agenzia Spaziale Italian (ASI), an International Space Station Partner (IP), will supply three MPLMs, currently being designed and fabricated by Alenia Aerospazio, Divisione Spazio, to the Space Station Program. Design oversight for this activity is being performed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).
Technical Paper

New Hydrophilic, Composite Membranes for Air Removal from Water Coolant Systems

Liquid coolants are commonly used as thermal transport media to increase efficiency and flexibility in aerospace vehicle design. The introduction of gas bubbles into the coolant can have negative consequences, including: loss of centrifugal pump prime, irregular sensor readings, and blockage of coolant flow to remote systems. One solution to mitigate these problems is the development of a passive gas removal device, or gas trap, installed in the flight cooling system. In this study, a new hydrophilic, composite membrane has been developed for passage of the coolant fluid and retention of gas bubbles. The trapped bubbles are subsequently vented from the system by a thin, hydrophobic, microporous membrane. The original design for this work employed a homogeneous membrane that was susceptible to fouling and pore plugging.
Technical Paper

Creating a Lunar EVA Work Envelope

A work envelope has been defined for weightless Extravehicular Activity (EVA) based on the Space Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), but there is no equivalent for planetary operations. The weightless work envelope is essential for planning all EVA tasks because it determines the location of removable parts, making sure they are within reach and visibility of the suited crew member. In addition, using the envelope positions the structural hard points for foot restraints that allow placing both hands on the job and provides a load path for reacting forces. EVA operations are always constrained by time. Tasks are carefully planned to ensure the crew has enough breathing oxygen, cooling water, and battery power. Planning first involves computers using a virtual work envelope to model tasks, next suited crew members in a simulated environment refine the tasks.
Technical Paper

An Integrated Approach to Thermal Management of International Space Station Logistics Flights: Improving the Efficiency

The efficiency of re-useable aerospace systems requires a focus on the total operations process rather than just orbital performance. For the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, this activity included special attention to terrestrial conditions both pre-launch and post-landing and how they inter-relate to the mission profile. Several of the efficiencies implemented by the MPLM Mission Engineering Team were NASA firsts and all served to improve the overall operations. This paper provides the integrated engineering/operations solutions to several key issues. Topics range from statistical analysis of over 30 years of atmospheric data at the launch and landing site to a new approach for operations with the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. In each situation, the goal was to “tune” the thermal management of the overall flight system for minimizing requirement risk while optimizing power and energy performance.