(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center - Huntsville, AL
The Manned Habitat Environmental Control and Life Support Systems Test Facility supports Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)'s mission to develop and refine necessary processes and systems
for environmental control and life support (ECLS) technologies. NASA relies on its Life Support Systems contractors , such as Boeing and United Technologies/Hamilton Standard , to provide the necessary environmental control systems. However, new and improved designs, and concepts and process theories continually evolve to refine, modify, and improve existing technologies.
Originally formed to directly support the Space Station Freedom program, this 20,000square foot highbay facility provides a hands on testbed environment for ECLS technology development. A variety of full scale working habitat simulators and contractor supplied control systems provides the facility with a diverse range of ECLS systems capabilities.
Included within the ECLS facility are working simulation modules for wastewater collection and purification, atmospheric control and air recovery systems which control the oxygen pressures and levels, carbon dioxide removal/reduction systems, and smoke/fire detection systems. Individual ECLS subsystems have been integrated into a full scale habitat simulator measuring 15 feet in diameter and 40 feet long that is capable of operating at ambient and reduced pressures. This habitat simulator provides a selfenclosed ecosystem for testing and evaluation of the numerous environmental control systems required for life support.
The unique partnering agreements between MSFC and its Life Support Subsystem contractors has facilitated one of the most advanced systems development and integration laboratories in the world.
Experienced on site contractors, working with MSFC personnel, provide an environment that facilitates personnel involvement through teamwork instead of working in a more traditional government/contractor relationship. This relationship provides the advantages of shared or free flowing information between parties while improving morale. Systems engineers and designers have used the facility to gain first hand, working knowledge of processes and integration issues. This effort allows them to return to the designing environment with enhanced knowledge of system requirements.
This unique partnering has allowed MSFC personnel to gain invaluable knowledge into ECLS technologies and integration issues leading to advanced shipboard ECLS systems in a short time, and this knowledge will then be applied to the procurement process. Consequently, MSFC can ensure the procurement of what is needed with no time or money lost by reordering needed ECLS systems.