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Technical Paper

Columbus Active Thermal Control System - Final Integration, Test and Mission Preparation

Columbus has been delivered to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in summer 2006 for final integration, test and mission preparation. In the frame of these “last” phase activities also the Active Thermal Control System (ATCS) had to be finalized and prepared for the launch resp. mission. Due to unexpected late failures resp. malfunctions detected on component/unit level of the ATCS, refurbishment, integration / exchange of the relevant components and re-testing of their system level functions had to be done. Moreover, the still outstanding system level fluid leakage test of the ATCS had to be revised and completed. In addition to the required late refurbishment, integration and test activities, in certain cases also operational workarounds had to be evaluated. They should help to cope with similar contingency situations during operation of the ATCS on-orbit.
Technical Paper

Columbus Environmental Control System Tests - Verification of ATCS and ECLSS Performance

Verification of the Integrated Overall Thermal Mathematical Model (IOTMM) is one of the last tasks in the thermal and environmental control area of the Columbus module. For this purpose a specific test covering as well thermal-hydraulic performance tests as Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) cabin temperature control functions has been defined and performed on the european Columbus Protoflight Model (PFM) in Bremen in 2003. This Environmental Control System test was successful for all Active Thermal Control System (ATCS) related thermal-hydraulic functions and could provide sufficient data for a proper IOTMM correlation. However, it failed to verify the ECLS related functions as cabin temperature control and ventilation. Data, which have been generated during this first test, could not be used for a successful IOTMM correlation related to ECLS subsystem performance and modelling.
Technical Paper

Columbus Integrated System Level ECS Test

The Columbus laboratory module, developed by Astrium Bremen as prime contractor and Alenia Spazio as co-prime, is the European contribution to the International Space Station (ISS) program and as such it will support, once in orbit, micro-gravity and space based research activities of the member states. Columbus Environmental Control System (ECS) employs an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) providing atmosphere pressure, cabin ventilation and temperature humidity control inside the module in conjunction with an autonomous Active Thermal Control System (ATCS) that provides the heat collection capability. The ATCS, based on software controlled water loop, provides also the cooling capability for Payloads and Subsystem equipment. The ECS is completed with the Passive Thermal Control System based on software controlled shell heating system plus passive fixtures such as Multi-Layers Insulation (MLI) blankets.
Technical Paper

Columbus Integrated System Level ECS Test - Preparation, Conduction and Summary

The Columbus laboratory module, implements an autonomous active thermal control system (ATCS) and a heater controlled external passive thermal control system (PTCS). For cabin air temperature and humidity control it employs an Environmental Control and Life Support system (ECLSS) providing additionally atmosphere pressure and cabin ventilation control inside the module. The entire Columbus thermal control system as well as the environmental control and life support system are qualified via simplified but representative tests and concluding analyses. In order to get confidence on the functional performance of the Columbus Environmental Control System (ECS) and to validate the Integrated Overall Thermal Mathematical Model (IOTMM) on system level, the module will be subjected further to an Integrated System Test (IST). The actual intention of the test is to generate thermal data which will be used for TMM correlation.
Technical Paper

Columbus Launch Preparation - Final System ATCS Tests Summary and Lessons Learned

Final preparation and configuration of the Columbus module at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) required the performance of system level tests with the Active Thermal Control System (ATCS). These tests represented the very last system level activities having been concluded on the Columbus module before handover to NASA for space shuttle integration. Those very last tests, performed with the ATCS comprised the final ATCS Leakage Test, the final calibration and adjustment of the Water Flow Selection Valves (WFSV) and Water On/Off Valves (WOOV) as well as a sophisticated ATCS Residual Air Removal test. The above listed tests have been successfully performed and test data evaluated for verification closeout as well as input delivery for operational Flight Rules and Procedures. Some of the above mentioned tests have been performed the first time hence, a succeeding lessons learned collection followed in order to improve the perspectives of future tests.