Spacecraft Fire Experiment (Saffire) Development Status


The status is presented of a spacecraft fire safety research project that is under development to reduce the uncertainty and risk in the design of spacecraft fire safety systems for exploration missions. The Spacecraft Fire Safety Demonstration Project is developing three Spacecraft Fire Experiments (Saffire-I, -II, and -III) to conduct a series of material flammability tests at a length scale that is realistic for a serious spacecraft fire in low-gravity. The objectives of these experiments are to (1) determine how rapidly a large scale fire grows in low-gravity and (2) investigate the low-g flammability limits compared to those obtained in NASA’s normal gravity material flammability screening test. The experiments will be conducted in Orbital Science Corporation’s Cygnus vehicle after it has deberthed from the International Space Station. Although the experiment will need to meet rigorous safety requirements to ensure the carrier vehicle does not sustain damage, the absence of a crew removes the need for strict containment of combustion products. The tests will be fully automated with the data downlinked at the conclusion of the test before the Cygnus vehicle reenters the atmosphere. A computer modeling effort will complement the experimental effort. An international topical team is collaborating with the NASA team in the definition of experiment requirements and performing supporting analysis, experimentation and technology development. The status of the overall experiment are summarized in this paper along with a brief look at future experiments that could further enhance NASA’s approach to spacecraft fire safety.


Tucson, Arizona
Gary A. Ruff, NASA Glenn Research Center, USA
David L. Urban, NASA Glenn Research Center, USA
A.Carlos Fernandez-Pello, UC Berkeley, USA
James S. T’ien, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Jose L. Torero, University of Queensland, Australia
Guillaume Legros, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France
Christian Eigenbrod, University of Bremen (ZARM), Germany
Nickolay Smirnov, Moscow Lomonosov State University, Russia
Osamu Fujita, Hokkaido University, Japan
Adam J. Cowlard, University of Edinburgh, UK
Sebastien Rouvreau, Belisama R&D, France
Olivier Minster, ESA ESTEC, Netherlands
Balazs Toth, ESA ESTEC, Netherlands
Grunde Jomaas, Technical University of Denmark
The 44th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Tuscon, Arizona, USA on 13 July 2014 through 17 July 2014.