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Own Air Atmosphere Pressure of Space Vehicles


Creation of the Autonomous System for Own Air Atmosphere Pressure Control of Space Vehicles for Extra Vehicle Ativity Monitoring and Leakproofness Control of Orbital Complexes in Pilot or Automatic Regimes of Flight

Tech Area / Field

  • SAT-SAF/Space Safety/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation
  • SAT-MAS/Manned Space Station/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics, Russia, St Petersburg


  • NASA / Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, TX, Houston\nThe Boeing Company, USA, TX, Houston

Project summary

Leakproofness control, detection of gas atmosphere leakage from leak-proof International Space Station (ISS) modules, leakage place search are the priority problems to ensure the crew’s safety onboard the (ISS).

The final objective of this project is to elaborate basic solutions on construction principles, composition, structure and application methods of means for measuring of rarefied atmosphere parameters, surrounding the ISS during the orbital flight, for leakproofness control of the ISS modules and leakages place search.

At present for the leakproofness control of space vehicles (SV) methods based on measuring of absolute pressure, gradient of absolute pressure variation, measurement of gas flows, appearing during gaseous medium leakage when leakproofness fault. Sensitivity of two first mentioned leakproofness control methods is determined by precision characteristics of the applied equipment and is restricted essentially with disturbances, introduced to the gaseous medium by ISS equipment and crew. The method of leakproofness control with the help of measurement of gas flows appearing during leakage is effective for large leakages detection and during emergency depressurization of the object.

Small leakages can be determined with the help of the ISS onboard means after dozens of hours after their appearance (authentically, the leakage presence can be determined if the pressure decay of the AGA is 5 … 10 mm of mercury column), that reduces time, given for crew for leakage place search and leakproofness recovery.

Detection of small leakages becomes especially urgent task for large space objects, such as ISS, in conditions of long-term flight and scarce resources for maintenance of the given pressure inside the station. Due to complexity of depressurization place location detection on the inside of station, it is very perspective to use for leakproofness control and leakages place search means, placed on its external side, which are used for own air atmosphere (OAA) control, surrounding the space vehicle. It is supposed to use as sensing element the magnetic discharge density gauge (MDDG) of inversely- magnetron type (gauge with cold cathode). The proposed method of leakproofness control and leakage place search on the ISS is based on the results of full-scale investigation in Space with the use of RTC equipment. During the depressurization of an object change of OAA occurs – in the leakage zone the local area of the high gas concentration appears, which is generated by the effluent gas flow, directed from the place of leakproofness failure.

Means for measurement of rarified gaseous medium parameters, placed on the ISS external side, are able to reveal appearance of the local zone of high concentration of the rarified gas. Here, pressure measurement results depend both on distance to leakage place and on device orientation relative to rarified gas flow direction. When there are several devices in the local zone of high concentration it is possible to determine place of gas isolation source. The monitoring system of the ISS OEA is formed as a set of means for measurement of rarified gaseous medium parameters. Those means are autonomous regarding of power-supply and data exchange. The measuring means allow to determine except concentration (pressure) such characteristics of the gas atmosphere as gas flow density, gas flow direction and others, i.e. they are multiparameter. The system of OAA monitoring can be used for detection of both small and large leakages, and also for provision of the leakages place search during the full depressurization of the module.

The project is supposed to be carried out by scientists and specialists of the State Scientific Center of Russia “Central R&D Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics” (RTC), who have great hands-on experience of creation of the devices and systems, providing crew’s safety during the orbital flight and space vehicles longevity. Among them there are Doctors and Candidates of Science, Academicians and Correspondent-members of Russian Academy of Science and Russian Space Academy by Zialkovsky, key specialists, who carried out long-term investigations of own air atmosphere of the orbital complex “Mir” right up to its withdrawal, members of international work group on the ISS tightness control and maintenance.

Realization of the given Project will promote the further integration of Russian scientists in the international scientific community, promote high technologies progress and introduction with a view of common space exploration, including on the ISS.

During the Project it is planned to carry out works together with collaborators – “Boing” firm and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the area of requirements specification consideration, scientific and technical information exchange, holding of joint symposia and work seminars, and activity planning on the ISS integration.


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ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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