NextSTEP Appendix A Modular ECLSS Effort Lessons Learned



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


The first appendix under NextSTEP-2, Appendix A, focused on developing deep space habitation concepts, engineering design and development, and risk reduction efforts leading to a habitation capability in cislunar space. Collins Aerospace, formerly UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS), was awarded a Phase 1 and subsequent Phase 2 contract to �develop concepts that group ECLS systems into logical modules maximizing the use of common components and the development of unique methods and design concepts that support in-flight maintenance and repair for future exploration systems.� This effort developed and matured a modular palletization concept to enable standard rack interfaces, post-launch outfitting, and decoupling of structural supports that withstand launch environments from those needed for lower on-orbit loads, Collins also assessed numerous architecture trades, including the use of condensing and noncondensing heat exchangers, the ability of modular units to accommodate various habitat volumes and thermal loading, and the most appropriate order and timing of delivery of regenerative ECLSS hardware to orbital habitats. Collins additionally developed software approaches for distributed/modular command, control, and communication systems and innovative Bayesian fault detection and isolation techniques. Finally, the effort explored advanced maintainability and supportability concepts including the definition of maintenance units (MUs) in place of the traditional Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs), increasing parts commonality to reduce the number and type of spare parts, the use of augmented reality to guide crews during maintenance and repair procedures, and how crews would prepare for and recover from long durations of habitat dormancy. Now that the NextSTEP Modular ECLSS effort has come to a close, it's important to summarize the work accomplished under this effort and identify the lessons learned and where they can be leveraged to improve NASA's broader program of ECLSS technology development and demonstration and ultimately how they can increase the performance of future surface and orbital habitats.


James Clawson, Stellar Solutions, Inc., USA
Daniel Barta, NASA Johnson Space Center(JSC), USA
Walter Schneider, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, USA
David Howard, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, USA
Marlon Cox, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
ICES506: Human Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit: Missions and Technologies
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


Modular Systems, ECLSS, Palletization, Distributed Architecture, Maintenance Units, Augmented Reality