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Technical Paper

Shuttle Orbiter Environmental Control and Life Support System-Flight Experience

The Orbiter Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) functioned successfully on 76 Shuttle missions to date. The ECLSS consists of six subsystems which provide both a habitable environment for the crew and active vehicle thermal control. The Orbiter ECLSS design is reviewed in this paper and the operational flight experience is summarized. Significant flight problems are described, along with the design or procedural changes implemented to resolve the problems. The design and flight experience is summarized for recent enhancements to the ECLSS to meet extended duration missions and to accommodate visits to the Mir Space Station and to the International Space Station.
Technical Paper

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

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.