Utilizing Gaps and Performance Measures to Inform NASA Environmental Control and Life Support Systems and Crew Health and Performance Technology Decisions



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


Human spaceflight is a complex endeavor requiring multiple capabilities for transportation, crew health, scientific goals, and safe return to Earth. The difference between spaceflight proven capabilities and those needed for future exploration architectures is defined as a capability gap. Capability gaps are not technology specific. Each capability gap may be closed with a range of technologies that have unique benefits and challenges. Determining what a capability's relevant and distinguishing key performance parameters (KPPs) are for a mission is critical. Mass, power, and volume are always constrained and defining these in a way normalized by performance is very important. KPP definitions for reliability, dormancy, and integration needs are hard to define but also critical. Outside of technical considerations, the programmatic factors of the estimated time to develop the technology and how the technology validation objectives are matured are strong considerations in which technologies should be pursued and how they should leverage earlier mission elements before the longer duration missions. The Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLSS) and Crew Health and Performance (CHP) capability areas are decomposed to high level gaps. KPPs should be technology agnostic. They can be used to both compare technologies and measure progress of technology development over time. KPPs help define when the gap is closed, and the core mission objectives can be accomplished. Proposed technology improvements to enhance a capability should balance improved KPPs and against investments in other capabilities that are not yet closed. A selection of gaps, KPPs, and validation objectives and their formulation, current state, and how they inform capability roadmap planning are discussed.


James Broyan, National Aeronautics and Space Administration HQ (NASA), USA
Andrew Abercromby, NASA Johnson Space Center(JSC), USA
Alexander Burg, Bryce Space and Technology, 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.


Life Support, Environmental Monitoring, Crew Health and Performance, Key Performance Parameters, Capability Gaps, Validation, Testing