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Maintainability test of Kibo's ECLSS - TCS system rack

ECLSS-TCS rack
(left : front view, right : rear view)

A maintainability test of the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo's Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and Thermal Control System (TCS) rack was conducted in the Kobe Shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI) from July 9 to July 12,1999. Here is the report.

Test Objectives
The ECLSS-TCS rack, which will be installed in the Pressurized module of Kibo, holds two subsystems, an air conditioning ventilator and a thermal controller that will remove the heat generated by the equipment installed in Kibo.

Three test personnel conducted the test from the viewpoints of whether astronauts can operate the equipment and perform maintenance on the ECLSS-TCS rack without any problems on orbit.

Test Method
Three test personnel, including a NASA astronaut, conducted the test using the proto-flight model of the ECLSS-TCS rack, that will actually be installed in Kibo. Personnel of different heights were selected to ensure that an astronaut of any height could handle the tasks.

The following four items were tested.

(1)Physical Access: To confirm whether there is enough space for grasping objects such as connectors.
(2)Visual Access: To confirm whether objects to be grasped or labels attached can be seen with ease.
(3)Tool Clearance: To confirm whether there is enough space for handling tools such as ratchetwrenches or torquewrenches.
(4)Sharp Edge Evaluation: To confirm that there are no sharp edges, that could hurt astronauts.

-Physical Access
Physical access check
The test personnel checked that the cover of the rack, and the electric and fluid connectors can be detached or attached without problems. More than 50 points were checked.
Visual Access
Sample of labels There are many other types of labels.

It was confirmed that all connector faces are visible. If the connectors were not visible, they would have to be connected by hand only, without visible observations of task, which could damage the pins and connectors. This test was conducted to eliminate such possibilities. The test also confirmed that labels on the ECLSS-TCS rack and on ORUs are visible.

Tool Clearance
The test confirmed that bolts fastening ORUs to the rack can be detached or attached without problems. It also confirmed that there are enough clearance and work space to attach sockets of wrenches on top of each bolt and that the test wrenches can be operated to attach and detach the bolts. Furthermore, confirmed that hand-holds used to manipulate ORUs can be attached to and detached from the ORUs.
The confirmation of the operation with a tool
Installation to the Hand hold
Sharp Edge Evaluation
The test personnel confirmed that there were no sharp edges by touching rack covers and inside and outside rack surfaces with gloved hands.

Test Results
The test personnel concluded that astronauts of all sizes can handle the rack and conduct maintenance activities without any problems. The NASA astronaut also made valuable comments, recommending that other kinds of tools be used.

Test to follow
This test was conducted using Rack 1 of the two ECLSS-TCS racks. A similar test will be conducted for Rack 2 in late September 1999. That test will concentrate on items pointed out by this test and on specifications which differ from those of Rack 1.


Last Update:Sep. 2, 1999

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