Design, Build, Test of a CO2 Removal Testbed and Twin Robotically Manipulable Testbed: Sensing Degradation and Performing Maintenance with Robot/Human Teaming


The NASA-sponsored “Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration” (HOME) Space Technology Research Institute is creating a foundation for smart deep-space habitats that can both sustain human residents and sustain themselves without human residents. A vital element of any human-rated mission is the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), composed of multiple subsystems, including an Air Revitalization subsystem that maintains a breathable atmosphere. Tracking performance, identifying performance degradation, predicting remaining useful life of components, and performing maintenance on such a critical system are paramount to creating a safe, habitable environment and are thus key research areas within HOME. This paper outlines the design, build, and test of two new testbeds at UC Davis. The first, ZeoDe (Zeolite Capacity Degradation), is a chemically functional CO2 removal testbed that generates degradation data for prognostics through the introduction of humidity into the system. The introduction of humidity can occur in a space habitat due to leaks or other faults. Humidity build-up within the system leads to CO2 removal capacity degradation of the sorbent. Thus, the study of sorbent degradation is of paramount importance to any zeolite-based CO2 removal system deployed on future spacecraft. The maintenance of such a system is equally important. The second UC Davis testbed, RobInZeN (Robotically Interactive ZeoDe twiN), is a non-functional ECLSS testbed designed for the physical manipulation by robots and humans of its components for task execution. It is modeled after ZeoDe, with additional design changes to allow maintenance practices for both humans and onboard robotic agents. These two testbeds will allow HOME to investigate sensor criticality, degradation physics, detection sequences, and maintenance plans for a degraded ECLSS CO2 removal unit in both autonomous robotic tasks and integrated robot/human teaming scenarios.


Daniela Ivey, University of California Davis, USA
Tammer Barkouki, University of California Davis, USA
Monica Torralba, University of California Davis, USA
Ulubilge Ulusoy, University of Southern California, USA
Samuel Eshima, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
Ayush Mohanty, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Christopher Lindbeck, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Stephen Balakirsky, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Stephen Robinson, University of California Davis, USA
ICES302: Physio-chemical Life Support- Air Revitalization Systems -Technology and Process Development
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


ECLSS, Air Revitalization, CO2 Removal, Machine Learning, Testbed, Robotics, Robotic Manipulation, Degradation, Life Support