Comparison of Exploration Oxygen Recovery Technology Options Using ESM and LSMAC



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2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems


In preparation for long duration manned space flight, numerous technology development efforts are ongoing in the area of environmental control and life support (ECLS). In cooperation with international, industry, and academic partners, NASA seeks to leverage the International Space Station as a testbed for technologies targeted for Exploration-class missions. In recent years, Equivalent Systems Mass (ESM) analyses have been conducted to evaluate the relative breakeven points and to compare technologies as part of ECLS architectural trades. While these studies have provided important data pertaining to key engineering metrics, additional considerations are important to more fully understand the potential impacts and costs associated with selecting a specific architecture. A tool, called the Life Support Multi-Dimensional Assessment Criteria (LSMAC), was recently proposed by Sierra Nevada Corporation in an attempt to incorporate influences of these additional considerations including Maintainability, Risk Analysis, Technology Readiness Level, Radiation Impacts, Manufacturing Costs, Reliability, Human Factors, and Un-Crewed Operations. As a first step toward evaluating and implementing this tool, LSMAC was used to revisit the ISS oxygen recovery trade from the 1990’s wherein Sabatier was selected over Bosch technology. Second, the tool was used to compare oxygen recovery developmental technologies currently in work. The results of these studies as well as a comparison with standalone ESM analyses are reported. Further, a discussion of the potential application of the tool across the ECLS portfolio and its potential use in future technology selection for ISS flight demonstrations is provided.


Morgan Abney, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
Robyn Gatens, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
Kevin Lange, Jacobs Technology, USA
Brittany Brown, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
John Wetzel, Sierra Nevada Corporation, USA
Robert Morrow, Sierra Nevada Corporation, USA
Walter Schneider, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
Christine Stanley, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
ICES302: Physio-chemical Life Support- Air Revitalization 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.


Oxygen Recovery, Life Support, Trade Study, ESM Architecture