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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

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.
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 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 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

Screening of Potential Biomass-Derived Streams as Fuel Blendstocks for Mixing Controlled Compression Ignition Combustion

Mixing controlled compression ignition, i.e., diesel engines are efficient and are likely to continue to be the primary means for movement of goods for many years. Low-net-carbon biofuels have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of diesel combustion and could have advantageous properties for combustion, such as high cetane number and reduced engine-out particle and NOx emissions. We developed a list of over 400 potential biomass-derived diesel blendstocks and populated a database with the properties and characteristics of these materials. Fuel properties were determined by measurement, model prediction, or literature review. Screening criteria were developed to determine if a blendstock met the basic requirements for handling in the diesel distribution system and use as a blend with conventional diesel. Criteria included cetane number ≥40, flashpoint ≥52°C, and boiling point or T90 ≤338°C.
Technical Paper

Reduction in Vehicle Temperatures and Fuel Use from Cabin Ventilation, Solar-Reflective Paint, and a New Solar-Reflective Glazing

A new type of solar-reflective glass that improves reflection of the near-infrared (NIR) portion of the solar spectrum has been developed. Also developed was a prototype solar-reflective paint that increases the NIR reflection of opaque vehicle surfaces while maintaining desired colors in the visible portion of the spectrum. Both of these technologies, as well as solar-powered parked car ventilation, were tested on a Cadillac STS as part of the Improved Mobile Air Conditioning Cooperative Research Program (I-MAC). Significant reductions in interior and vehicle skin temperatures were measured. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) performed an analysis to determine the impact of reducing the thermal load on the vehicle. A simplified cabin thermal/fluid model was run to predict the potential reduction in A/C system capacity. The potential reduction in fuel use was calculated using a vehicle simulation tool developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Technical Paper

Pulmonary Toxicity of Lunar Highland Dust

Lunar dust exposures occurred during the Apollo missions while the crew was in the lunar module on the moon's surface and especially when micro-gravity conditions were attained during rendezvous in lunar orbit. Crews reported that the dust was irritating to the eyes, and in some cases, respiratory symptoms were elicited. NASA's current vision for lunar exploration includes stays of 6 months on the lunar surface hence the health effects of periodic exposure to lunar dust in the habitat need to be assessed. NASA is performing this assessment with a series of in vitro and in vivo tests with authentic lunar dust. Our approach is to “calibrate” the intrinsic toxicity of lunar dust by comparison to a relatively low toxicity dust (TiO2) and a highly toxic dust (quartz) using intrapharyngeal instillation of the dusts to mice. A battery of indices of toxicity is assessed at various time points after the instillations.
Technical Paper

Preliminary Development of a Suit Port for Planetary Surface EVA — Design Studies

This paper present a summary of the design studies for the suit port proof of concept. The Suit Port reduces the need for airlocks by docking the suits directly to a rover or habitat bulkhead. The benefits include reductions in cycle time and consumables traditionally used when transferring from a pressurized compartment to EVA and mitigation of planetary surface dust from entering into the cabin. The design focused on the development of an operational proof of concept evaluated against technical feasibility, level of confidence in design, robustness to environment and failure, and the manufacturability. A future paper will discuss the overall proof of concept and provide results from evaluation testing including gas leakage rates upon completion of the testing program.
Technical Paper

Oxygenates for Advanced Petroleum-Based Diesel Fuels: Part 1. Screening and Selection Methodology for the Oxygenates

The overall program objectives were three fold: assess the benefits and limitations of oxygenated diesel fuels on engine performance and emissions identify oxygenates most suitable for potential use in future diesel formulations based on physico-chemical properties (e.g. flash point), toxicity, biodegradability and estimated cost of production perform limited emissions and performance testing of the oxygenated diesel blends select at least two oxygenated compounds for advanced engine testing In Part 1 of this program which is described in this paper, an extensive literature review was conducted to identify potential oxygenates for blending into diesel fuels. As many as 71 oxygenates were identified for the initial screening process. Based on a set of physical and chemical properties, a screening methodology was developed to select the 8 oxygenates that will be eligible for engine testing.
Technical Paper

Oxygen From Lunar Soils

We have conducted experiments on 16 lunar soils and 3 lunar volcanic glass samples to study the extraction of oxygen, an important resource for future lunar bases. The samples were chosen to span the range of composition and mineralogy represented in the Apollo collection. Each sample was reduced in flowing hydrogen for 3 hours at 1050°C. The dominant effect was reduction of Fe2+ (as FeO) in minerals and glass to iron metal, with concomitant release of oxygen. Oxygen extraction was strongly correlated with initial Fe2+ abundance but varied among mineral and glass phases. The experimental reduction of lunar soil and glass provides a method for assessing the oxygen production potential for sites on the lunar surface from lunar orbit. Our results show that oxygen yield from lunar soils can be predicted from knowledge of only one parameter, total iron content. This parameter can be measured from orbit by gamma ray spectrometry or multispectral imaging.
Technical Paper

Orbiter Flash Evaporator: Flight Experience and Improvements

The Flash Evaporator Subsystem (FES) provides active cooling for the Shuttle Orbiter vehicle during the ascent and re-entry phases of the flight and provides supplemental cooling to the radiators while on-orbit. This paper describes the design and operation of the FES and summarizes the operational flight experience to date. As the fleet of orbiters grows older, contamination and corrosion are two issues on which attention has focused. A discussion of these conditions and the subsequent design changes and operational workarounds will be summarized.
Technical Paper

On-Orbit Performance of the Major Constituent Analyzer

The Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) was activated on-orbit on 2/13/01 and provided essentially continuous readings of partial pressures for oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and water in the ISS atmosphere. The MCA plays a crucial role in the operation of the Laboratory ECLSS and EVA operations from the airlock. This paper discusses the performance of the MCA as compared to specified accuracy requirements. The MCA has an on-board self-calibration capability and the frequency of this calibration could be relaxed with the level of instrument stability observed on-orbit. This paper also discusses anomalies the MCA experienced during the first year of on-orbit operation. Extensive Built In Test (BIT) and fault isolation capabilities proved to be invaluable in isolating the causes of anomalies. The process of fault isolation is discussed along with development of workaround solutions and implementation of permanent on-orbit corrections.
Technical Paper

Nanoscale Materials for Human Spaceflight Applications: Regenerable Carbon Dioxide Removal Using Single-wall Carbon Nanotubes

The challenges of missions to the Moon and Mars presents NASA with the need for more advanced life support systems, including better technologies for CO2 removal in spacecraft atmospheres and extravehicular mobility units (EMU). Amine-coated single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) have been proposed as a potential solution because of their high surface area and thermal conductivity. Initial research demonstrated the need for functionalization of SWCNT to obtain optimal adherence of the amine to the SWCNT support phase [1]. Recent efforts focus on the development of new methods to chemically bond amines to SWCNT. Synthesis and characterization methods for these materials are discussed and some preliminary materials characterization data are presented. The CO2 adsorption capacity for several versions of SWCNT supported amine-based CO2 scrubber materials is also determined.
Technical Paper

Modifications of Physiological Processes Concerning Extravehicular Activity in Microgravity

The incidence of DCS in null gravity appears to be considerably less than predicted by 1-g experiments. In NASA studies in 1-g, 83% of the incidents of DCS occur in the legs. We report first on a study with a crossover design that indicated a considerable reduction in the decompression Doppler bubble grade in the lower extremities in subjects in simulated microgravity (bed rest) as compared to themselves when ambulatory in unit gravity. Second we describe the results of a cardiovascular deconditioning study using a tail-suspended rat model. Since there may be a reduction in bubble production in 0-g, this would reduce the possibility of acquiring neurological DCS, especially by arterial gas embolism. Further, cardiovascular deconditioning appears to reduce the pulmonary artery hypertension (secondary to gas embolization) necessary to effect arterialization of bubbles.
Journal Article

Minimizing EVA Airlock Time and Depress Gas Losses

This paper describes the need and solution for minimizing EVA airlock time and depress gas losses using a new method that minimizes EVA out-the-door time for a suited astronaut and reclaims most of the airlock depress gas. This method consists of one or more related concepts that use an evacuated reservoir tank to store and reclaim the airlock depress gas. The evacuated tank can be an inflatable tank, a spent fuel tank from a lunar lander descent stage, or a backup airlock. During EVA airlock operations, the airlock and reservoir would be equalized at some low pressure, and through proper selection of reservoir size, most of the depress gas would be stored in the reservoir for later reclamation. The benefit of this method is directly applicable to long duration lunar and Mars missions that require multiple EVA missions (up to 100, two-person lunar EVAs) and conservation of consumables, including depress pump power and depress gas.
Technical Paper

Mechanical Properties and Durability Study of Aerogel-Base Thermal Insulation for Advanced Space Suit

Fiber-reinforced Aerogel composite insulations provide superior thermal insulation protection in both the low-earth orbit (LEO) and near-earth neighborhood planetary environments. The flexible nature and thermal properties of these materials make them the best insulation candidates for advanced space suit application. This paper reviews the properties of various Aerogel composite materials developed for NASA by Aspen Systems, Inc. Previous studies showed that the Aerogel materials retained acceptable thermal performance after some amount of mechanical cycling. The goal of the current work is to reach a complete understanding of the mechanical properties of these materials in the domain of space suit application. Hence, a good knowledge of the durability of the aerogel composites is needed. This paper presents the extensive testing program needed to determine the life of these insulations for advanced space suit application.