NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 08.05-5000

PROJECT TITLE: Small Payload Fluid Servicing System (SPAFSS)

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

ORBITEC proposes to develop a Small Payload Fluid Servicing System (SPAFSS) to service fluid loops in a microgravity environment for filtering, gas entraiment, and other potential chemical processing that utilize a porous media. The innovation of this unit is the development of a miniature, membrane based, gas/liquid separator and its integration into a small, low powered unit capable of automated priming while on orbit with minimal crew intervention. Current gas/liquid separators are large, require substantial power and mass, and are designed to draw both free gas as well as dissolved gas out of the water. The miniaturized gas/liquid separator within SPAFSS meets the specific needs of biological research units and other small experiments on Space Station enabling significantly higher fluid system reliability necessary for most of these experiments. This allows the new separator to be much smaller, lighter weight, and use less power. The Phase I will result in a testbed to evaluate system components and provide input for the development of a flight system. The Phase II unit could be incorporated with existing systems as part of a technology demonstration flight in microgravity.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

Successful development of the small payload fluid servicing system (SPAFSS) would provide NASA with a standard piece of support equipment to prepare, degas, and filter water for extended durations microgravity science experiments. Some commercial applications for a SPAFSS would be in controlled capillary irrigation (CCI) of plant growth systems, and porous-interface building and residential humidity control systems. A small payload fluid servicing system is essential to developing commercial porous-interface irrigation and humidity control systems. Potential marketable uses of controlled capillary irrigation systems include providing control of root environments in small and large plantings ranging from individual pots to large plantscapes for offices and office complexes, airports, hotels, restaurants, homes, and urban roof-top agriculture systems. CCI can also be applied to root zone environment control for plant stress, mineral nutrition, and plant pathology research. Porous-interface humidity control systems have great potential for use in residential and office buildings since they can humidify and dehumidify with the same equipment, can provide precise set-point control, and have no free water which can be contaminated or spilled.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Jeffrey T. Iverson
Orbital Technologies Corporation
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison , WI 53717

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

Orbital Technologies Corporation
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison , WI 53717