Spacecraft Fire Experiment (Saffire) Development Status

Gary A. Ruff, David L. Urban, A. Carlos Fernandez-Pello, James S. T'ien, Jose L. Torero, Guillaume Legros, Christian Eigenbrod, Nickolay Smirnov, Osamu Fujita, Adam J. Cowlard, Sebastian Rouvreau, Olivier Minster, Grunde Jomaas

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The status is presented of a spacecraft fire safety research project that is under
development to reduce the uncertainty and risk in the design of spacecraft fire safety systems for exploration missions. The Spacecraft Fire Safety Demonstration Project is developing three Spacecraft Fire Experiments (Saffire-I, -II, and -III) to conduct a series of material flammability tests at a length scale that is realistic for a serious spacecraft fire in low-gravity. The objectives of these experiments are to (1) determine how rapidly a large scale fire grows in low-gravity and (2) investigate the low-g flammability limits compared to
those obtained in NASA’s normal gravity material flammability screening test. The
experiments will be conducted in Orbital Science Corporation’s Cygnus vehicle after it has deberthed from the International Space Station. Although the experiment will need to meet rigorous safety requirements to ensure the carrier vehicle does not sustain damage, the absence of a crew removes the need for strict containment of combustion products. The tests will be fully automated with the data downlinked at the conclusion of the test before the Cygnus vehicle reenters the atmosphere. A computer modeling effort will complement the
experimental effort. An international topical team is collaborating with the NASA team in the definition of experiment requirements and performing supporting analysis, experimentation and technology development. The status of the overall experiment are summarized in this paper along with a brief look at future experiments that could further enhance NASA’s approach to spacecraft fire safety.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 44th International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES)
Number of pages9
PublisherTexas Tech University Libraries
Publication date2014
ISBN (Print)978-0-692-38220-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event44th International Conference on Environmental Systems - Tucson, United States
Duration: 13 Jul 201417 Jul 2014
Conference number: 44


Conference44th International Conference on Environmental Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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