Archive for July, 2018

Report by François Levy: This is a brief report on the 2018 International Conference of Environmental Systems (ICES), that was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA from July 8th through 12th. Along with Georgi Petrov, Sandra Häuplik-Meusberger, and Don Barker, I co-chaired organizing the Space Architecture Technical Committee’s participation in this year’s ICES.

The International Conference on Environmental Systems, or ICES (known prior to 1990 as the Intersociety Conference on Environmental Systems), is an annual technical conference focusing on human spaceflight technology and space human factors. Session topics include: Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), thermal control, life sciences, extra-vehicular activity (EVA) systems (including space suit design and human-robot interaction), space architecture, and mission planning for exploration. The conference has taken place annually since 1971. Next year’s conference will be in Boston, MA, USA at the Omni Parker House Hotel, July 7-11, 2019.
The plenary keynote on Monday was given by Elisa A Truscott, ISS Environmental and Thermal Operating Systems (ETHOS) Senior Flight Controller. As an ETHOS Flight Controller, Ms. Truscott offered valuable insights on the performance of ECLSS systems on orbit in contrast to individual components’ terrestrial test or design performance. I found her talk to be interesting and insightful, and many of her observations and wisdom are applicable to any design discipline. Speaking of design, Brent Sherwood, Ted Hall, Matt Simon, Max Venatta, Charlie Hanner, and myself enjoyed a lively discussion on design and space architecture over lunch on Monday. Such informal interactions with our peers and colleagues are an unscripted but tangible benefit of conferences like ICES.
There were six space architecture papers accepted and scheduled to be presented in two sessions. One paper author was unable to present at the scheduled time due to travel delays, but presented later in another session. The Space Architecture session attendance was very good, topping at about 60 and never falling below about 30.
Below is a brief synopsis of these papers. Proceedings of this and recent years’ conferences are hosted here:
Gregory Gentry, Matt Duggan, Darren Samplatsky and William West
Bill West offered a new paradigm for safety rating in an era of multi-vehicle mission architectures, considering the systems of flight vehicles, landers, rovers, and habitats. Rather than designing each vehicle/habitat to be human rated, the paper suggests that systems be human rated as a whole, with less reliance on redundancy and a greater emphasis on reliability. This could allow components to be human safe when appropriate, with corresponding reduction in mass and complexity.
#106 Recommendations for Next Generation Crew Quarters
Brandon Maryatt, Michael Van Wie and Toni Clark
Brandon Maryatt reviewed the work done at NASA towards an evolutionary design of Crew Quarters (CQ), taking a hybrid approach that synthesizes predecessors: on-orbit assembly in the case of TESS, and the integrated rack Shuttle-delivered ISS CQ. The proposed CQ would be partially pre-assembled, and partially orbit-assembled, given current delivery options. Ventilation challenges for occupant comfort and safety were discussed, as well as improvements in lighting.
Robert Gitten, Ben Greaves, Haroon Syed, Takumi Date, Sindhu Jayakala, Sweeya Tangudu, Annika Stoldt and Anna Mariella Pulvermüller
The Michigan Bioastronautics and Life Support Systems (BLiSSteam presented their Argo concept, their NASA X-HAB entry: a habitat architecture for both deep space transit and deployment on the Martian surface. The toroidal design has two distinct implementations built on a common architecture in an effort to maximize common elements. The transit configuration rotates to simulate 0.38g at the inner structure serving as floor deck; the surface version is similar in overall design but the deck orientation is perpendicular to the central axis and obviously the surface habitat is static.
#244 Experimental Investigation of Vertical Translation Design Commonality Across Differing Gravitation Levels
Lemuel Carpenter, Charles Hanner and David Akin
Undergraduate Charlie Hanner provided a description and status of on ongoing project at the University of Maryland under David Akin’s guidance, to test stair configurations for 1/6 (lunar) and 3/8 (Mars) gravity. Prototype tests led to optimal design of test fixtures and neutral buoyancy test protocols. The university, which has the only academic neutral buoyancy test facility in the US, is seeking sponsorship funding to run the full test series.
François Levy, Georgi Petrov, Marc Cohen and Michael Fox
I presented our work outlining the applicability to crewed vehicle and habitat design processes of terrestrial architecture building information modeling (BIM) frameworks and standards, specifically LOD (levels of development), IFC (industry foundation classes), and COBie (Construction Operation Building Information Exchange). We paid particular attention to the data-rich aspects of BIM and opportunities for improved design outcomes, and concluded with a brief review of Cal Poly’s BIM processes for their X-HAB entry.
Shunsuke Miyazaki and Suzana Bianco
Shunsuke Miyazaki presented this paper in a later session (due to unfortunate travel delays). He described a commercial space station
architecture as a successor to the ISS. Several private ventures are already in various stages of preparing their own modules for attachment to the ISS for technology verification. The new architecture would combine selected ISS modules with others from Axiom, Bigelow Aerospace, and NanoRacks.