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Technical Paper

Environmental Control System for an Experimental Crew Return Vehicle

A small team of NASA engineers has been assembled at the Johnson Space Center, with the goal of developing an inexpensive space-capable vehicle. In order to minimize cost and development time of the experimental vehicle, it was desirable to build upon a previously-developed vehicle shape. The basic shape of the X-24A experimental lifting body was chosen for several reasons, and in the case of the Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS), the de-orbit cross-range capability of this shape provides for a minimal on-orbit time while waiting for landing opportunities, which in turn simplifies the ECLS. Figure 1 shows the X-38 vehicle body shape. In keeping with the goal of rapidly developing an inexpensive and reliable vehicle, the ECLS was developed using simple, passive systems where practical. This paper provides an overview of the ECLS mission requirements and design, with emphasis on the philosophy used in its development.
Technical Paper

Energy Analysis of an Enclosed, Long-Duration Planetary Habitat Test-Bed

An energy balance was performed on the life support equipment used during the Phase III, 90-day, human Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project at the Johnson Space Center. The purpose of the analysis was to account for all the energy sources, uses, and losses in the test-bed. Knowledge from this task may allow more energy efficient designs to be developed. Control volumes were defined and energy balance equations were generated for major systems. The analyses succeeded in balancing the energy fairly well for several systems. Further, the data showed that inefficiencies existed, and means of design optimization were subsequently suggested.
Technical Paper

BIO-Plex Thermal Control System Design

Engineers at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) are using innovative strategies to design the TCS for the Bio-regenerative Planetary Life Support Systems Test Complex (BIO-Plex), a regenerative advanced life support system ground test bed. This paper provides a current description of the BIO-Plex TCS design, testing objectives, analyses, descriptions of the TCS test articles expected to be tested in the BIO-Plex, and forward work regarding TCS. The TCS has been divided into some subsystems identified as permanent “infrastructure” for the BIO-Plex and others that are “test articles” that may change from one test to the next. The infrastructure subsystems are the Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC), the Crew Chambers Internal Thermal Control Subsystem (CC ITCS), the Biomass Production Chamber Internal Thermal Control Subsystem (BPC ITCS), the Waste Heat Distribution Subsystem (WHDS) and the External Thermal Control Subsystem (ETCS).