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Technical Paper

Two-Phase Flow in Packed Columns and Generation of Bubbly Suspensions for Chemical Processing in Space

For long-duration space missions, the life support and In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) systems necessary to lower the mass and volume of consumables carried from Earth will require more sophisticated chemical processing technologies involving gas-liquid two-phase flows. This paper discusses some preliminary two-phase flow work in packed columns and generation of bubbly suspensions, two types of flow systems that can exist in a number of chemical processing devices. The experimental hardware for a co-current flow packed column operated in two ground-based low gravity facilities (two-second drop tower and KC-135 low-gravity aircraft) is described. The preliminary results of this experimental work are discussed. The flow regimes observed and the conditions under which these flow regimes occur are compared with the available co-current packed column experimental work performed in normal gravity.
Technical Paper

Summary of NASA Aerodynamic and Heat Transfer Studies in Turbine Vanes and Blades

Aerodynamic effects of trailing edge geometry, hole size, angle, spacing, and shape have been studied in two- and three-dimensional cascades and in a warm turbine test series. Heat transfer studies have been carried out in various two- and three-dimensional test facilities in order to provide corresponding heat transfer data. Results are shown in terms of cooling effectiveness and aerodynamic efficiency for various coolant fractions, coolant-primary temperature ratios, and cooling configurations.
Technical Paper

Strategies to Mitigate Ammonia Release on the International Space Station

The management of off-nominal situations on-board the International Space Station (ISS) is crucial to its continuous operation. Off-nominal situations can arise from virtually any aspect of ISS operations. One situation of particular concern is the inadvertent release of a chemical into the ISS atmosphere. In sufficient quantities, a chemical release can render the ISS uninhabitable regardless of the chemical's toxicity as a result of its effect on the hardware used to maintain the environment. This is certainly true with system chemicals which are integral components to the function and purpose of the system. Safeguards, such as design for minimum risk, multiple containment, hazard assessments, rigorous safety reviews, and others, are in place to minimize the probability of a chemical release to the ISS environment thereby allowing the benefits of system chemicals to outweigh the risks associated with them. The thermal control system is an example of such a system.
Journal Article

Status of the International Space Station (ISS) Trace Contaminant Control System

A habitable atmosphere is a fundamental requirement for human spaceflight. To meet this requirement, the cabin atmosphere must be constantly scrubbed to maintain human life and system functionality. The primary system for atmospheric scrubbing of the US on-orbit segment (USOS) of the International Space Station (ISS) is the Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS). As part of the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems' (ECLSS) atmosphere revitalization rack in the US Lab, the TCCS operates continuously, scrubbing trace contaminants generated primarily by two sources: the metabolic off-gassing of crew members and the off-gassing of equipment in the ISS. It has been online for approximately 95% of the time since activated in February 2001. The TCCS is comprised of a charcoal bed, a catalytic oxidizer, and a lithium hydroxide post-sorbent bed, all of which are designed to be replaced on-orbit when necessary.
Technical Paper

Solution for Direct Solar Impingement Problem on Landsat-7 ETM+ Cooler Door During Cooler Outgas in Flight

There was a thermal anomaly of the landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) radiative cooler cold stage during the cooler outgas phase in flight. With the cooler door in the outgas position and the outgas heaters enabled, the cold stage temperature increased to a maximum of 323 K when the spacecraft was in the sunlight, which was warmer than the 316.3 K upper set point of the outgas heater controller on the cold stage. Also, the outgas heater cycled off when the cold stage was warming up to 323 K. A corrective action was taken before the attitude of the spacecraft was changed during the first week in flight. One orbit before the attitude was changed, the outgas heaters were disabled to cool off the cold stage. The cold stage temperature increase was strongly dependent on the spacecraft roll and yaw. It provided evidence that direct solar radiation entered the gap between the cooler door and cooler shroud.
Technical Paper

Selection of an Alternate Biocide for the International Space Station Internal Active Thermal Control System Coolant Loops

The International Space Station (ISS) IATCS (Internal Active Thermal Control System) includes two internal coolant loops that use an aqueous based coolant for heat transfer. A silver salt biocide was used initially as an additive in the coolant formulation to control the growth and proliferation of microorganisms in the coolant loops. Ground-based and in-flight testing has demonstrated that the silver salt is rapidly depleted and not effective as a long-term biocide. Efforts are now underway to select an alternate biocide for the IATCS coolant loop with greatly improved performance. An extensive evaluation of biocides was conducted to select several candidates for test trials.
Technical Paper

Sabatier Engineering Development Unit

To facilitate life support system loop closure on board the International Space Station (ISS), the Node 3 Oxygen Generation System (OGS) rack contains a functional scar to accommodate a future Carbon dioxide Reduction Assembly (CRA). This CRA uses a Sabatier reactor to produce water from CO2 scrubbed from cabin air and hydrogen byproduct from OGS electrolysis. As part of the effort to better understand and define the functional scar, significant risk mitigation activities have been performed. To address integration risks, a CRA Engineering Development Unit (EDU) has been developed that is functionally equivalent to a flight CRA and is suitable for integrating with ground based carbon dioxide removal and oxygen generation systems. The CRA EDU has been designed to be functionally equivalent to the Sabatier Reactor Subsystem (SRS) portion of the CRA. This paper discusses the CRA design and the major issue expected with the flight unit integration.
Journal Article

Root Cause Assessment of Pressure Drop Rise of a Packed Bed of Lithium Hydroxide in the International Space Station Trace Contaminant Control System

The trace contaminant control system (TCCS) located in the International Space Station's (ISS) U.S. laboratory module employs physical adsorption, thermal catalytic oxidation, and chemical adsorption to remove trace chemical contamination produced by equipment offgassing and anthropogenic sources from the cabin atmosphere. The chemical adsorption stage, consisting of a packed bed of granular lithium hydroxide (LiOH), is located after the thermal catalytic oxidation stage and is designed to remove acid gas byproducts that may be formed in the upstream oxidation stage. While in service on board the ISS, the LiOH bed exhibited a change in flow resistance that leading to flow control difficulties in the TCCS. Post flight evaluation revealed LiOH granule size attrition among other changes. An experimental program was employed to investigate mechanisms hypothesized to contribute to the change in the packed bed's flow resistance.
Technical Paper

Resistively-Heated Microlith-Based Adsorber for Carbon Dioxide and Trace Contaminant Removal

An integrated sorber-based Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) and Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) prototype was designed, fabricated and tested. It corresponds to a 1-person load. Performance over several adsorption/regeneration cycles was examined. Vacuum regenerations at effective time/ temperature conditions, and estimated power requirements were experimentally verified for the combined CO2/trace contaminant removal prototype. The current paper details the design and performance of this prototype during initial testing at CO2 and trace contaminant concentrations in the existing CDRA, downstream of the drier. Additional long-term performance characterization is planned at NASA. Potential system design options permitting associated weight, volume savings and logistic benefits, especially as relevant for long-duration space flight, are reviewed.
Technical Paper

Replacement for Internal Active Thermal Control System Fluid Sample Bag Material

The International Space Station (ISS) Internal Active Thermal Control System (IATCS) uses a water based heat transport fluid with specific chemical parameters and additives for corrosion and microbial control. The fluid and hardware have experienced anomalies since activation of the United States Laboratory (USL), including chemical and possibly, microbial corrosion. The required sampling of the fluid has the crewmembers removing samples via an in-line sampling tool to perform real-time trace ammonia contamination tests using color change strips, and filling a 150 ml bag from each loop for the ground laboratory analyses. The former activity requires stable storage of the strips, and for the latter activity, it is highly desirable to return the ground sample as stable as possible. This paper describes the process for materials selection, test methods/set-up, results, and final recommendation for a replacement outer bag.
Technical Paper

Reduction of JT8D Powered Aircraft Noise By Engine Refanning

The purpose of the Refan Program is to establish the technical feasibility of substantially reducing the noise levels of existing JT8D powered aircraft. This would be accomplished by retrofitting the existing fleet with quieter refan engines and new acoustically treated nacelles. No major technical problems exist that preclude the development and installation of refanned engines on aircraft currently powered by the JT8D engine. The refan concept is technically feasible and provides calculated noise reductions of from 7 to 8 EPNdB for the B727-200 aircraft and from 10 to 12 EPNdB for the DC-9-32 aircraft at the FAR Part 36 measuring stations. These noise levels are lower than both the FAR Part 36 noise standards and the noise levels of the wide-body DC-10-10. Corresponding reductions in the 90 EPNdB footprint area are estimated to vary from about 70% for the DC-9 to about 80% for the B727.
Technical Paper

Post-Flight Sampling and Loading Characterization of Trace Contaminant Control Subassembly Charcoal

Trace chemical contaminants produced by equipment offgassing and human metabolic processes are removed from the atmosphere of the International Space Station's U.S. Segment by a trace contaminant control subassembly (TCCS). The TCCS employs a combination of physical adsorption, thermal catalytic oxidation, and chemical adsorption processes to accomplish its task. A large bed of granular activated charcoal is a primary component of the TCCS. The charcoal contained in this bed, known as the charcoal bed assembly (CBA), is expendable and must be replaced periodically. Pre-flight engineering analyses based upon TCCS performance testing results established a service life estimate of 1 year. After nearly 1 year of cumulative in-flight operations, the first CBA was returned for refurbishment. Charcoal samples were collected and analyzed for loading to determine the best estimate for the CBA's service life.
Technical Paper

Performance Characterization of a Prototype Ultra-Short Channel Monolith Catalytic Reactor for Air Quality Control Applications

Contaminated air and process gases, whether in a crewed spacecraft cabin atmosphere, the working volume of a microgravity science or ground-based laboratory experiment facility, or the exhaust from an automobile, are pervasive problems that ultimately effect human health, performance, and well-being. The need for highly-effective, economical decontamination processes spans a wide range of terrestrial and space flight applications. Adsorption processes are used widely for process gas decontamination. Most industrial packed bed adsorption processes use activated carbon because it is cheap and highly effective. Once saturated, however, the adsorbent is a concentrated source of contaminants. Industrial applications either dump or regenerate the activated carbon. Regeneration may be accomplished in-situ or at an off-site location. In either case, concentrated contaminated waste streams must be handled appropriately to minimize environmental impact.
Technical Paper

Performance Assessment of the Exploration Water Recovery System

A new water recovery system architecture designed to fulfill the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Space Exploration Policy has been tested at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). This water recovery system architecture evolved from the current state-of-the-art system developed for the International Space Station (ISS). Through novel integration of proven technologies for air and water purification, this system promises to elevate existing system optimization. The novel aspect of the system is twofold. First, volatile organic compounds (VOC) are removed from the cabin air via catalytic oxidation in the vapor phase, prior to their absorption into the aqueous phase. Second, vapor compression distillation (VCD) technology processes the condensate and hygiene waste streams in addition to the urine waste stream. Oxidation kinetics dictate that removing VOCs from the vapor phase is more efficient.
Technical Paper

Octafluoropropane Concentration Dynamics On Board the International Space Station

Since activating the International Space Station's (ISS) Service Module in November 2000, archival air quality samples have shown highly variable concentrations of octafluoropropane in the cabin. This variability has been directly linked to leakage from air conditioning systems on board the Service Module, Zvezda. While octafluoropropane is not highly toxic, it presents a significant challenge to the trace contaminant control systems. A discussion of octafluoropropane concentration dynamics is presented and the ability of on board trace contaminant control systems to effectively remove octafluoropropane from the cabin atmosphere is assessed. Consideration is given to operational and logistics issues that may arise from octafluoropropane and other halocarbon challenges to the contamination control systems as well as the potential for effecting cabin air quality.
Technical Paper

Nuclear Rockets for Interplanetary Propulsion

THE LOW-POWER SPACE NUCLEAR ROCKET conceived by NASA engineers is described in this paper. It is compared with the chemical rocket and the nuclear turboelectric ion propulsion system. In developing the concept for this low-power rocket, NASA engineers concentrated on attaining low weight and high hydrogen temperature, and on solving problems concerned with automatic control and operation of high-temperature reactors. It was presumed that the NASA 1.5 million-lb thrust engine would be available, and could place 25,000 lb in orbit, at the time the nuclear rocket is ready for test. As experience is gained reactors of higher power can be developed. These can, perhaps, be used as second stages of larger chemical boosters. Finally, high-power, high-temperature rockets for booster application can be undertaken.
Technical Paper

NASA Heavy Lift Rotorcraft Systems Investigation

The NASA Heavy Lift Rotorcraft Systems Investigation examined in depth several rotorcraft configurations for large civil transport, designed to meet the technology goals of the NASA Vehicle Systems Program. The investigation identified the Large Civil Tiltrotor as the configuration with the best potential to meet the technology goals. The design presented was economically competitive, with the potential for substantial impact on the air transportation system. The keys to achieving a competitive aircraft were low drag airframe and low disk loading rotors; structural weight reduction, for both airframe and rotors; drive system weight reduction; improved engine efficiency; low maintenance design; and manufacturing cost comparable to fixed-wing aircraft. Risk reduction plans were developed to provide the strategic direction to support a heavy-lift rotorcraft development.
Technical Paper

Microlith Based Sorber for Removal of Environmental Contaminants

The development of energy efficient, lightweight sorption systems for removal of environmental contaminants in space flight applications is an area of continuing interest to NASA. The current CO2 removal system on the International Space Station employs two pellet bed canisters of 5A molecular sieve that alternate between regeneration and sorption. A separate disposable charcoal bed removes trace contaminants. An alternative technology has been demonstrated using a sorption bed consisting of metal meshes coated with a sorbent, trademarked and patented [1] as Microlith® by Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI); these meshes have the potential for direct electrical heating for this application. This allows the bed to be regenerable via resistive heating and offers the potential for shorter regeneration times, reduced power requirement, and net energy savings vs. conventional systems. The capability of removing both CO2 and trace contaminants within the same bed has also been demonstrated.
Technical Paper

Mathematical Analysis of Space Radiator Segmenting for Increased Reliability and Reduced Mass

Spacecraft for long duration deep space missions will need to be designed to survive micrometeoroid bombardment of their surfaces some of which may actually be punctured. To avoid loss of the entire mission the damage due to such punctures must be limited to small, localized areas. This is especially true for power system radiators, which necessarily feature large surface areas to reject heat at relatively low temperature to the space environment by thermal radiation. It may be intuitively obvious, that if a space radiator is composed of a large number of independently operating segments, such as heat pipes, a random micrometeoroid puncture will result only in the loss of the punctured segment, and not the entire radiator. Due to the redundancy achieved by independently operating segments, the wall thickness and consequently the weight of such segments can be drastically reduced.