Operational Validation of the Air Quality Monitor on the International Space Station
James, John T.
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Two air quality monitors (AQMs) were launched to the International Space Station (ISS) in March 2013. The AQM units, with different gas chromatographic columns, operate simultaneously on the ISS to accurately measure target compounds important to the assessment of the onboard air quality. The AQMs had to be validated, which meant they had to demonstrate their ability to accurately analyze target compounds in the ISS atmosphere, before they could be proclaimed ready for operational use. As the name implies, operational hardware can and will be used to make real-time decisions; therefore validation is necessary to have confidence in generated data. The AQMs were deployed in late March 2013 and validation was begun in May 2013. During the in-flight validation phase, a minimum of 6 mini-grab sample containers (mini-GSCs) were acquired nearly simultaneously with the AQM sample analysis. Six months was needed to acquire the necessary mini-GSC-AQM pairings to complete validation. The validation criteria, established prior to launching the AQMs, were applied to each compound and not to the AQM units. Furthermore, the validation included the checkout of the AQM battery operations in a remote location. The AQMs operate autonomously using a scripted analysis scheme and frequency. A remote desktop feature of the AQMs permits the scripts to be interrupted, without use of crew time, so that the AQM runs could be coordinated with the mini-GSC sample acquisition. This paper will briefly describe the AQM technology, describe the validation requirements, and present the results from the AQM validation.