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Human Research Program

Suited Contingency Ops Food

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

To ensure that the NASA food system promotes crew safety and performance in all mission phases, AFT has worked to develop a nutrition system that would feed astronauts in pressurized spacesuits. In addition to the constraints of mass, volume, and crew resources that influence the development of all spaceflight systems, design of a contingency food system is also affected by other constraints. The designed delivery system hardware must interface with pressurized spacesuits and vehicle hardware, and must function in the absence of pressure and gravity. Additionally, the beverage for use in this system must meet a variety of requirements related to crew health and nutrition in contingency events. After working to identify all considerations from hardware design teams and health-related disciplines, AFT continued to act as the primary integrator in developing delivery hardware and selecting an appropriate nutritional beverage. In light of the findings of the FY2010 glove box assessment of contingency feeding system design concepts, 8 new designs were created during the period, as part of “Generation 2” hardware design for this project. Five of these designs represented modifications to the most successful “Generation 1” hardware to further improve its performance. The remaining 3 designs, although relying on some hardware tested in Generation 1, represent distinct (new) design concepts. The main proposal in Generation 2 that was expected to improve on earlier hardware was the modification of the feedport nozzle adapter hardware to incorporate a backfill prevention mechanism. Such a backfill prevention mechanism was a resultant recommendation from the glove box testing, as a means to overcome the pressure differential between suit and cabin, but still allow effective dispensing of beverages to a crewmember. The backfill prevention mechanism identified as part of Generation 2 was a one-way check valve that would prevent air from flowing out of the suit and into the feeding system, but still allow liquid to dispense from feeding system into suit. Several watch items were identified relating to the placement of the one-way valve on the nozzle adapter, including a need to confirm that the valve could be cleaned adequately, and that it would function with both low and high viscosity nutritional beverages and nutritional beverage dispersions. Follow on testing is encouraged to verify these watch items for future applications. Furthermore, if the placement of the one-way check valve on the nozzle adapter is verified, testing of the Apollo Soft Goods Pouch, Toothpaste Key, Toothpaste Turnkey, and Commercial Spouted Pouch designs should also be performed at differential pressure. This would assess the combined effects of backfill prevention and mechanical aids on the effectiveness of dispensing fluid from these designs. In addition to these proposed modifications to articles evaluated in the glove box assessment, three new designs were proposed to build on the evaluated concepts: a Ratcheting Key, Cable Constricting Restrainer Pouch, and Bag in Bag Concept. The Ratcheting Key design would rely on a rotating key as a mechanical aid. Due to changes in agency direction, the direct need for a contingency food system is no longer present. This project has, therefore, been concluded prematurely. Still, the work conducted to date on this project is likely to be relevant to NASA needs in the future. In the event that there becomes an interest in pursuing this type of development in the future, researchers have made a diligent effort to summarize project methods, task findings, and specific recommendations for future work. More »

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Project Duration

This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.