In-Flight Maintenance Design Philosophy for Gateway and Deep-Space Life Support Systems



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49th International Conference on Environmental Systems
49th International Conference on Environmental Systems


NASA has laid the foundation for the development of the “Gateway,” a platform in cislunar space. The Gateway will enable missions to the lunar surface and serve as a strategic waypoint for future missions to Mars or beyond. Perhaps most importantly, the Gateway missions will function as a fielded proving ground for next-generation in-flight repair methodologies. While the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) deployed on Gateway and beyond will be rooted in decades of operational experience, the means of repairing and refurbishing these systems will require a paradigm shift away from legacy methodologies. Through NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP), Collins Aerospace has been advancing the development of the deep-space ECLSS with the vision of modular hardware capable of supporting in-flight maintenance and repair. Maintenance-friendly, repairable hardware allows for contingency solutions that have not been available during legacy missions, such as ISS, where orbital replacement units (ORUs) have been designed only for remove-and-replace fixes. These additional contingency options provide operational flexibility, altering the approach to hardware and consumable provisions, ultimately taking steps towards Earth-independent operations. Through this paper, Collins Aerospace will demonstrate how the vision of in-flight maintenance and repair has manifested itself in the design of the deep-space ECLSS, present principles devised for designing in maintainability, discuss how technology advancements will enable maintainability, and suggest how in-flight maintenance influences the logistics of hardware and consumables.


Jake Rohrig, UTC Aerospace Systems, USA
Jonathan O'Neill, UTC Aerospace Systems, USA
Tom Stapleton, Innovative Aerospace LLC, USA
ICES506: Human Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit: Missions and Technologies
The 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems as held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 07 July 2019 through 11 July 2019.


Gateway, In-flight, Repair, Modular, Maintenance, ECLSS, NextSTEP, Contingencies, Flexibility, Consumables, Logistics, Collins Aerospace