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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Dust Mitigation Strategies for High Pressure Oxygen QDs, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

As human spaceflight once again moves toward planetary exploration, space suit hardware must be ready to face the harsh environmental conditions of these surfaces. This is especially true for High Pressure Oxygen Quick Disconnects. These systems are critical life support items that enable the flow of breathing gas, water, and electrical & communication signals from the suit to the vehicle or habitat. Lunar and Martian dust and regolith can have a detrimental effect ranging from an annoyance during mate & demate, to a severe hazard through contamination of the breathing gas lines. The work proposed in this effort will focus on dust mitigation strategies that can be used in a variety of High Pressure Oxygen Quick Disconnects. As a test bed for this effort, Air-Lock will focus on the existing connector designs of the EMU SCU/DCM Multiple Connectors, and the CSSS T-Handle Multiple Connector. However, the task will determine dust mitigation strategies that will be extensible to any existing or future connector design. The first step in this process is identifying the effects that dust and regolith will have. The next step will be a multifaceted approach, we will look to mitigate dust through 1) material and coating technologies 2) mechanical design features such as purges, wipers, and dust seals 3) connector covering and shielding. After a variety of dust mitigation options are developed, the third step in this process will be implementation of the strategies into the connector designs. The final step in this process will be testing of the strategies through samples and mock-ups in a simulated dirty environment. More »

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