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Elektron is Offline - Again



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 4th 05, 10:25 PM
Jim Oberg
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Default Elektron is Offline - Again

from 'NASA WATCH' : Elektron is Offline - Again

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 4 January 2005 link to
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=14981

"The Elektron is currently off. After it shut down on 1/1, reactivation was
not attempted until after yesterday's troubleshooting by Sharipov, who
worked on removing any air bubbles in the pumping system. When turned on,
the machine ran for a short period of time and then shut down again.
TsUP/Moscow is currently developing new troubleshooting steps." Posted by
keith cowing at 04:24 PM Jan 04



JimO adds: No alarm bells -- There are plenty of consumable oxygen supplies,
enough to get the next Progress.... but is the unit finally hard-broke like
all previous ones, or can it be nursed back to health and last until a
supposed solid-state electrolyzer unit is ready for flight later this year?
There seems to be some cumulative degradation of every previous unit of this
series, that finally reaches the point that it can't be operated. What is
the cause of this -- uncleanable contamination, seals failure, sensor
burn-out, something else, what?


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  #2  
Old January 5th 05, 03:21 AM
Derek Lyons
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"Jim Oberg" wrote:
JimO adds: No alarm bells --


Right. And the tile damage caused by foam didn't break anything major
did they? And the problem with O-ring blow-by turned out to be a non
issue too, didn't it?

*Anytime* a primary system is OOC, especially when it's a chronic
condition (as it seems to be with Elektron), alarm bells should be
ringing so loud as to crack the windows.

There are plenty of consumable oxygen supplies, enough to get the next
Progress....


And what shall we leave off of Progress to accomodate the extra O2?
Or shall we simply expend margin and hope for better luck?

D.
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-Resolved: To be more temperate in my postings.
Oct 5th, 2004 JDL
  #4  
Old January 5th 05, 03:52 PM
Jeff Findley
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"Derek Lyons" wrote in message
...
"Jim Oberg" wrote:
JimO adds: No alarm bells --


Right. And the tile damage caused by foam didn't break anything major
did they? And the problem with O-ring blow-by turned out to be a non
issue too, didn't it?

*Anytime* a primary system is OOC, especially when it's a chronic
condition (as it seems to be with Elektron), alarm bells should be
ringing so loud as to crack the windows.


Apples and oranges. There was no backup for the TPS damage on Columbia and
there was no backup (still isn't) to prevent o-ring blow by on the SRB's
from turning into a disaster. Those are crit-1 failures. Hopefully we'll
finish developing the TPS repair techniques that NASA abandoned after they
became comfortable with the TPS performance early on in the program, so at
least that won't be crit-1 anymore.

However, ISS has no less than four sources of O2:

1. Elektron - Preferred the most because it turns otherwise useless H2O
into O2

2. Progress O2 tanks - Preferred second (likely because of upmass
efficiency and safety)

3. Solid O2 generators - Not as preferred (likely due to higher upmass and
safety issues)

4. US airlock O2 tanks - Not currently preferred due to the current shuttle
grounding.

There are plenty of consumable oxygen supplies, enough to get the next
Progress....


And what shall we leave off of Progress to accomodate the extra O2?
Or shall we simply expend margin and hope for better luck?


The Russians are very good at this balancing act. They've been doing it
ever since the first Progress launch in the 1970's. It would certainly be
helpful if the shuttle was flying, but with only two people on ISS, this
situation really isn't much different than what the Russians did with Salyut
and Mir.

If you expected ISS to improve on what was done with Mir, what was the basis
for that belief? The US went into this knowing full well that US life
support wouldn't be online for many years into the program.

That along with lack of a US CRV and many other things makes the ISS very
dependant on the Russians. Really, this is more of a US failure in the way
the program was structured rather than a Russian failure. The Russians know
the limitations of Elektron very well.

Jeff
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Remove icky phrase from email address to get a valid address.



  #5  
Old January 5th 05, 06:02 PM
John Doe
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Derek Lyons wrote:
*Anytime* a primary system is OOC, especially when it's a chronic
condition (as it seems to be with Elektron), alarm bells should be
ringing so loud as to crack the windows.


Has it occured to anyone that unless and until they do find a solution to the
problem, no amount of sending up new Elektrons will resolve the situation ?

If they want to eventually have a reliable Elektron system, the best course to
take is to really debug the current unit to find out, through repeated
experiences, what works and what doesn't and why it fails.

If there is degradation of the unit, they have to find out what portion is
degrading.

In a closed loop system, systems such as elektron are critical. And if man is
ever going to go to mars, knowing how to build field servicable, simple and
more importantly reliable systems that handle gas and liquids is extremely important.

If they manage to make elektron reliable on ISS, it will perhaps be the ISS's
largest contribution in terms of space research. Watching crystals grow won't
get us to mars and beyond. Finding a way to generate oxygen reliably will.
 




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