HDU Technologies Demonstrated in 2010 Analog Testing

    The HDU and the airlock unit arrive via flatbed at the Johnson Space Center rockyard. Image credit: NASA

    Lunar landscape and Space Exploration VehiclesRendering of proposed architecture being tested at 2010 Desert RATS. Image credit: NASA

    Photo of architecture taken during the 2010 Desert RATS testing: HDU docked with two Space Exploration Vehicles. Image credit: NASA
    A technique being utilized in NASA's lunar architecture analysis is analog testing of the lunar environment in desert locales.  Running through potential "day in the life" scenarios at a lunar outpost with prototype equipment allows designers insight into the utilization of the proposed systems and refines architecture and operations concepts.

    A series of Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS) have been held in locations such as Moses Lake, Washington and Black Point Lava Flow, Arizona, where the test in September 2009 was performed with a Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV), and a fourteen day excursion was practiced.  The 2010 session of Desert RATS was held in Black Point Lava Flow, Ariz., where two SEVs operated together and docked with a full scale lunar habitat prototype, the Habitat Demonstration Unit.

    A graphic example of the proposed architecture under evaluation in the Desert RATS 2010 field testing is pictured on the right.  The Pressurized Excursion Module (PEM) represented by the HDU in 2010 is depicted in the center.  One difference is that the HDU version allows for a second story loft rather than accommodating commodity storage tanks on its roof.  As the name implies, the application for the PEM is for lunar excursions, to provide a mobile facility in which to provide research and habitation functionality in a mobile outpost concept.  

    The following technologies and features of the first Habitat Demonstration Unit prototype were demonstrated in the field during analog testing from the Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS), Aug 26-Sept 15, 2010: Logistics-to-Living. This approach recycles and repurposes the logistics systems into useable components and elements throughout a habitat or laboratory; examples include furniture, outfitting, and partitions, to mention a few.

    "Intelligent" Hab System Management Software: Intelligent Software, Integrated Building Systems Health Management, Intelligent Controls, Intelligent Sensors, and Building Management Software. These provide the capability to effectively and efficiently "manage" the Hab/Lab resources -- the utilities such as electricity, lighting, air, HVAC, communications, water, waste, etc.

    Implementing intelligent design choices, effective resource management, environmentally smart applications, and optimized environments for the occupants are paramount. An intelligent building - or habitat - must balance these parameters to maximize its overall efficiency, whether it is in terms of mass, power, volume, resource management, or crew productivity.

    Power management systems: Exploration elements require more intelligent, safe and efficient power management systems than currently exist. These systems would enable such as applications as air transportation, marine transportation, a wide range of electric consumer products, biomedical applications and industrial applications, and other Smart Grid applications. The HDU power management control system will demonstrate what could be considered the future high energy efficient terrestrial household system. Each major energy using device can be monitored for usage thereby allowing control of the peak electrical energy demand.

    HDU layout (top view)A view from the top of the HDU layout. Image credit: NASA EVA System:
    • Incapacitated Crewmember Evaluation
    • Hardware needs/requirements volume assessment
    • Operational concept evaluation
    • Basic evaluation of volume of airlock concept including 2 low fidelity suits and 2 donning/doffing stands
    • Suit wipe down (differentiate between suit wipe down externally and internally) and suit inspection
    • Dust mitigation objective
    • Vacuum
    • Grated floor
    HDU Core Computing, Networking and Communications Infrastructure
    • The capability of an integrated habitat network t
    • command, control and monitor the critical and non-critical functions of a human habitat in an adverse environment.
    • By evaluating the proper function of critical network, its redundancy, reparability and recoverability in-situ.
    • By evaluating the proper monitoring of systems, subsystems and sensors to maintain the human habitability of the habitat environment.
    • A robust wired and wireless network capable of supporting broad communications managed digital communications, while maintaining Quality of Service (QoS), guaranteed delivery and communication prioritization.
    Wireless Comm & RFID: Wireless and RFID technologies will demonstrate reduction or elimination of crew time spent on inventory management and localization of lost or misplaced equipment or tools. Transfers of CTBs between the LER and HDU will demonstrate the automatic capture of inventories upon ingress/egress. The CTBs will be place in an RFID-enabled enclosure that permits rapid localization and up-to-date, automated inventories. An RFID-enabled recycling receptacle tracks inventory depletion and materials available for future use. A handheld RFID interrogator permits localization of lost/misplaced tools. WLAN technology provides data connectivity in and around the HDU for network devices such as the handheld RFID interrogator, laptops, etc.

    Delayed Tolerant Networking: DTN technology will be demonstrated by (i) capturing data that would have otherwise been lost during outages in a multi-hop communication link and (ii) providing data flow without manual scheduling of communication resources; e.g., synchronization of inventory databases and sensor telemetry. For the former, navigation telemetry and/or biomedical telemetry will be disrupted due to a communication dropout. Restoration of the communication link will restore live telemetry/biomedical data as well as the data that would have been lost without the DTN technology. For the latter, RFID and sensor telemetry updates, over a DTN network, will be demonstrated without manual scheduling of resources. Communication link disruption will also reveal the robustness afforded by the DTN technology.

    Standards-based Modular Instrumentation System: This approach to an instrumentation system uses a node that accepts ten instrumentation inputs and then wirelessly transmits data to the command and data handling system. The nodes use a standards-based protocol to eliminate multiple wireless frequencies and interference within a wireless instrumentation system. Additionally, these nodes will be able to accept multiple types of sensors as inputs. Thus, they can be reconfigured for sensor upgrades or different types of measurement needs. By implementing this wireless node method, the Habitat Demonstration Unit will be able to assess the capabilities of a standards-based modular instrumentation system, as well as provide lessons learned for upgrades to future systems.

    Particle impact monitoring system: The Habitat particle Impact Monitoring System (HIMS) is designed to monitor, in real time, potential damaging impacts on the HDU from micrometeoroids and orbital debris (MMOD) in the near-Earth environment, from micrometeoroids and lunar secondary ejecta (MMSE) on the lunar surface, and from micrometeoroids in interplanetary space (including surfaces of asteroids). The goal of the 2010 campaign is to integrate a test unit to one segment of the HDU, demonstrate the detection capabilities in low speed regime (impact occurrence, impact area, damage estimate), characterize the acoustic background environment, evaluate the optimal sensor configuration, test the signal processing software, and identify any operations issues. The lessons learned from the field test will be used to advance the system design in preparation for a full integration of HIMS to HDU.

    Medical Operations (Med Ops): The Med Ops portion of this exercise is a three-pronged evaluation. The first prong evaluates how minimally medical-trained crewmembers mitigate HDU-PEM-relevant (i.e. Lunar Outpost relevant ) medical issues using a prototype medical kit and procedures (specific to a Lunar Outpost environment) without any guidance from a flight surgeon (FS) in Mission Control. The second prong has the crew, again, mitigating a Lunar Outpost-relevant medical issue with the Lunar Outpost-relevant medical kit and procedures; however, the team will evaluate how remote guidance from a simulated Mission Control-based FS improves or hinders medical care. The final prong evaluates how Med Ops can improve its communication and procedures to manage the health of an incapacitated crew member while supporting the EVA team in their transport of that incapacitated crew member to the HDU for treatment. In summary, the first two prongs will help Med Ops evaluate the initial design of its medical system specific to Lunar Outpost missions while the final prong will expand work conducted during the Haughton-Mars project to medically manage incapacitated crew members during EVAs.

    HDU Geoscience Lab Geo-Science Lab: The 2010 GeoLab is the first geological laboratory integrated into an analog field –based facility. It is a prototype, shirt-sleeve geological sample processing facility that includes a customized glovebox equipped with sample pass-through chambers for sample transfers from outside, a microscope and a handheld X-ray Fluorescence instrument. These features provide a controlled environment for performing preliminary examination and characterization of samples collected during EVA traverses . We will test lab-based data collection for prioritizing samples for return, to inform the science team planning future traverses, and to provide data for determining appropriate early curation procedures for specific samples. GeoLab operations enable us to test operational concepts and evaluate models for preliminary examination and geochemical fingerprinting of geological samples. We will use the technology demonstration to define the advances required for field-based sample characterization.

    Dust Protection: Dust Resistant coatings and Electrostatic Dust Mitigation
    • Compare effectiveness of Lotus Coating vs. Electrostatic Dust Screen vs. Lotus Coating on Electrostatic Dust Screen on hatch surfaces
    • Evaluate effectiveness of Electrostatic Dust Screen on Hatch Window
    • Evaluate various effectiveness of configurations of dust curtain in cleaning operations, including configuration as a hood
    • Evaluate various configurations of ventilation to determine most effective cleaning configuration
    Advanced life support systems: To reduce logistics, the exploration systems—both in-space and surface systems—will need to have advancements made. These technology advancements will benefit Earth applications such as closed-looped ecological systems, fire fighting protection, and hazardous materials cleanup.

    HDUFood Production: This demonstration will use the SBIR-developed VEGGIE plant growth unit built by Orbitec. The concept centers on operating a small (0.13 m2) vegetable production to supplement the crew's diet with fresh, perishable foods on exploration campaigns. The field test will grow lettuce plants under red, green, and blue LEDs operated on 28 VDC power. Crew time will be required for periodic filling of a water reservoir, as well as planting and harvest activities.

    LED Lighting: Flight hardware quality Solid State Lighting Modules, originally developed and flight tested as a prototype for the ISS, operating on 120VDC with avionics control and manual dimmer switches for each lighting module.

    • EVA Maintenance Volumetric Assessment
      • Full suit task
      • PLSS-only task
      • Upper torso-only task
      • Lower torso-only task
      • Suit Port Transfer Module task
      • Pressure bladder repair task
      • Leak detection task
    • General Maintenance Volumetric Assessment
      • Avionics maintenance task
      • EVA tool repair
      • LER wheel assembly repair
    • Medical Volumetric Assessment
      • Incapacitated crew member treatment
      • Nominal medical treatment and human life sciences research
    • Geology
      • Human computer interaction while using glovebox
    • Translation paths and interference
      • Interference of one workstation upon another/translation paths; accessibility of stowage items
    • Dust Vacuum
      • Effectiveness of vacuum for cleaning habitat interior
    • RFID readers for Logistics
      • Inventory LER crew supplies before/after 3-day and 7-day LER excursions