Flight Results For The Multiphase Flow Experiment For Suborbital Testing Payload



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2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems


This paper provides an overview of the Multiphase Flow Experiment for Suborbital Testing (MFEST) payload flown on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. The NASA Johnson Space Center, Crew and Thermal Systems Division had previously developed a Space Shuttle flight experiment to test the feasibility of a biological water processor for use in zero-gravity conditions, and demonstrate sustained operation of a two-phase flow system with a passive gas/liquid separator. The MFEST is a modification to the original payload (built in the 1990’s) specifically focused on the two-phase flow system and vortex separator operations for the challenging conditions of suborbital flight (i.e., launch, zero-g, and entry with high gravity levels). MFEST completed ground and parabolic flight testing prior to proceeding to two flights on SpaceShipTwo in December 2018 and February 2019. This paper provides a description of the overall project and a summary of significant results from the flight testing.


Kathryn Miller Hurlbert, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
Cable Kurwitz, Texas A&M University, US
Hiep Nguyen, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
Chad Moeller, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
Dean Duvall, JACOBS Engineering, US
Rube Williams, Stratos Perception, LLC, US
ICES303: Physio-Chemical Life Support- Water Recovery & Management Systems- Technology and Process Development
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.


Multiphase flow, Suborbital testing, Water processor