NASA Advanced Refrigerator/Freezer Technology Development Project Overview
NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC) has recently initiated a three-year project to develop the advanced refrigerator/freezer (R/F) technologies needed to support future life and biomedical sciences space experiments. Refrigerator/freezer laboratory equipment, most of which needs to be developed, is enabling to about 75% of the planned space station life and biomedical sciences experiments. These experiments will require five different classes of equipment: three storage freezers operating at −20°C, −70°C and ≤183°C, a −70°C freeze-dryer, and a cryogenic (≤183°C) quick/snap freezer. This project is in response to a survey of cooling system technologies, performed by a team of NASA scientists and engineers. The team found that the technologies, required for future R/F systems to support life and biomedical sciences spaceflight experiments, do not exist at an adequate state of development and concluded that a program to develop the advanced R/F technologies is needed. Limitations on spaceflight system size, mass, and power consumption present a significant challenge in developing these systems. This paper presents some background and a description of the Advanced R/F Technology Development Project, project approach and schedule, general description of the R/F systems, and a review of the major R/F equipment requirements.
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