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General Micro-space Update

Published by Rob on Fri Aug 19, 2005 9:32 am
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rpspeck posted an update on the Spacelaunch Development Infrastructure topic

We have the respirator masks for our life support experiments and manned flight tests in operation. This is an adaptation of an industrial, supplied air breathing mask. Our modification is a “three port” design, with intake on the left side, exhaust on the right side and an extra port in the middle. This extra port can be used for water, food, “cleanout” (saliva, mucus and vomit) as well as for emergency breathing air supply. We expect to be working with some level of positive pressure so that “open mask” procedures would be very risky. We expect that emergency “buddy breathing” modes will be feasible, even in orbital EVA. A microphone is also being prepared, which may be wired through this middle port as well.

All of our work will be done with “rebreather” systems, including multiple Oxygen partial pressure sensors, and CO2 scrubbers. Several “permanent” CO2 scrubbers are practical, including the thermally regenerated “Silver Hydroxide” absorbers. Rebreathers reduce the Oxygen supply needed in EVA and similar orbital uses by a factor of at least 5, and reduce the consumption of Oxygen during “prebreathing” periods by a factor of 25. An undersized, 25 cubic foot SCUBA tank filled with Oxygen would supply a user for two full days. On the other hand, a single liter of LOX (Liquid Oxygen) will do the same.

It became clear in 2002, while planning the hardware necessary for manned flight tests, that the life support and safety systems would need considerable effort. The NOISE level close to high thrust rockets demands serious hearing protection, as well as noise rejection systems for reliable voice communications (we are not finished with these systems). The dust and exhaust fumes are of course also unbreathable. (The “hard shell” crew compartment planned by others carries a large weight penalty, and still may not address life support needs for long delayed launch preparations.) All of these are factors safely ignored with light aircraft.

We also plan to use full cabin CO2 flooding for firefighting, high flow water spray for launch pad firefighting and allow deep water recovery as an option. Each of these makes SCUBA type, underwater breathing desirable and this is our design philosophy.

With these masks now in operation, we are also ready to continue the life support work outlined for Mars Missions.

For more information vivsit the General Micro-space forum HERE

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