Determining Thermal Capabilities for External Transfer Operations on the International Space Station

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48th International Conference on Environmental Systems

External transfers on the International Space Station have a degree of difficulty caused by the severity of the radiative thermal environment and the complexity of the operational choreography to perform the installation and activation of the hardware. These transfers can be performed robotically, by astronauts during an Extra Vehicular Activity (spacewalk), or combination of robotic/crew operations. Robotic transfers may include capability to intermittently power the hardware; while the hardware remains unpowered for EVA operations. Robotic transfers can be staged to occur in a favorable thermal environment, though typically take longer than a transfer by crew during an EVA where the hardware may not be robotically compatible. The hardware is under passive thermal control, use of optics/multi-layer insulation/heaters, while being transferred from/to a visiting vehicle, airlock, stowage platform, or external ISS structure and may include additional design components, such as removable protective blankets, to meet the transfer requirements. Thermal analysis must be performed to determine the capability of the hardware being transferred to provide the Mission Control team the products necessary to plan and execute the operation while establishing an awareness for any contingency response. An overview of the thermal aspects in planning these types of transfer operations, the analytical approaches and assumptions, and examples of results are provided in this paper.

Robert Henson, The Boeing Company
John Iovine, NASA / Johnson Space Center
ICES207: Thermal and Environmental Control Engineering Analysis and Software
The 48th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA on 08 July 2018 through 12 July 2018.
Thermal Analysis, Passive Thermal Control, International Space Station, Spacewalk, Robotic