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International Space Station Common Cabin Air Assembly Water Separator On-Orbit Operation, Failure, and RedesignThe ability to control the temperature and humidity of an environment or habitat is critical for human survival. These factors are important to maintaining human health and comfort, as well as maintaining mechanical and electrical equipment in good working order to support the human and to accomplish mission objectives. The temperature and humidity of the International Space Station (ISS) United States On-orbit Segment (USOS) cabin air is controlled by the Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA). The CCAA consists of a fan, a condensing heat exchanger (CHX), an air/water separator, temperature and liquid sensors, and electrical controlling hardware and software. The Water Separator (WS) pulls in air and water from the CHX, and centrifugally separates the mixture, sending the water to the condensate bus and the air back into the CHX outlet airstream. Two distinct early failures of the CCAA Water Separator in the Quest Airlock forced operational changes and brought about the re-design of the Water Separator to improve the useful life via modification kits. The on-orbit operational environment of the Airlock presented challenges that were not foreseen with the original design of the Water Separator. Operational changes were instituted to prolong the life of the third installed WS, while waiting for newly designed Water Separators to be delivered on-orbit. The modification kit design involved several different components of the Water Separator, including the innovative use of a fabrication technique to build the impellers used in Water Separators out of titanium instead of aluminum. The technique allowed for the cost effective production of the low quantity build. This paper will describe the failures of the Water Separators in the Quest Airlock, the operational constraints that were implemented to prolong the life of the installed Water Separators throughout the USOS, and the innovative re-design of the CCAA Water Separator.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Balistreri, Steven F., Jr. (Boeing Co. United States)
Shaw, Laura A. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Laliberte, Yvon (Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Inc. United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
Mechanical Engineering
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
41st International Conference on Environmental Systems(Portland, OR)
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