Oxygen Compatibility and Challenge Testing of the Portable Life Support System Variable Oxygen Regulator for the Advanced Extravehicular Mobility Unit
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The Variable Oxygen Regulator (VOR), a stepper-actuated two-stage mechanical regulator, is being developed for the purpose of serving as the Primary Oxygen Regulator (POR) and Secondary Oxygen Regulator (SOR) within the Advanced Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Portable Life Support System (PLSS), now referred to as the xEMU and xPLSS. Three prototype designs have been fabricated and tested as part of this development. Building upon the lessons learned from the 35 years of Space Shuttle/International Space Station EMU Program operation, including the fleet-wide EMU Secondary Oxygen Pack (SOP) contamination failure that occurred in 2000, NASA is analyzing, designing, and testing the VOR for oxygen compatibility with controlled Non-Volatile Residue (NVR) and a representative worst-case hydro-carbon system contamination event (>100 mg/ft2 dodecane). This paper discusses the steps taken in testing of VOR 2.0 for oxygen compatibility, and discusses follow-on design changes implemented in the VOR 3.0 (3rd prototype) as a result.