ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL SYSTEM
The environmental control system is the most critical of the Lightcraft's major systems. The multiple redundancy of this system maximizes the crew's safety and protects them from the unlikely event of multiple life support and propulsion system failures. The Lightcraft is inflated with heliox at 2 atm. pressure, and this gas is used for life support of the crew, and cooling of various Lightcraft systems. The heliox plenum system receives the cooled heliox from the cooling system and recirculates the cooled heliox for use throughout the Lightcraft. Before the cooled heliox can be used for human respiration, the heliox must pass through the heliox life support system. The heliox life support system revitalizes the heliox, removes excess carbon dioxide and other potential toxins, and filters out particles to the waste management system. The following section describes the heliox life support system in detail.
A contamination sensor monitors the quality of heliox and controls the flow of heliox around the Lightcraft. When the contamination sensor detects the failure of the heliox life support system, the sensor automatically shuts down the defective system and alerts the crew. There are three parallel heliox life support systems in the environmental control system, which operates at 33% of its full capacity in normal operational condition. This gives 300% redundancy to protect the crew from even the unlikely event of multiple life support and propulsion system failure. Approximately, one pair of atmospheric sensors for every 1 m3 of the interior volume is located throughout the Lightcraft. The sensors work at the rate of 0.1 seconds per sensor and control the temperature and humidity of heliox throughout the observation deck, console, etc. These sensors are also used for fire detection inside of the Lightcraft.
ATMOSPHERIC HELIOX SYSTEM
On board the Lightcraft are a number of life support systems that are essential for crew survival. An example is the Atmospheric Heliox System, which is used for crew respiration. This system controls the levels of heliox, water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It also filters out molecular and particulate contaminants, while condensing the OPFC, Oxygenated Perflourocarbons, for recycling. The helium-oxygen mixture is normally breathed in the main cabin and maglev landers of the Lightcraft in a pressure of 2 atmospheres. During low subsonic operations the atmosphere may reach a minimum of 1.1 atmospheres, but anything lower than that would cause the ship to lose its structural integrity. The 2 atmosphere He/O2 mixture in the Lightcraft has a partial pressure of 69 mm of oxygen; It is commonly used by deep-sea divers. Artificial intelligence computers linked throughout the Lightcraft regulate the heliox respiratory system. These computers recirculate the air and filter out the impurities, restoring the heliox composition to within normal parameters.
ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY GENERATION
|Since humans have evolved with Earth's gravity, the body's systems require gravity to maintain its proper skeletal function, the circulation of blood and cellular growth. In Space, the Lightcraft generates artificial gravity by spinning about its axis of symmetry. Artificial gravity creates "lunar-like" (1/6th Earth) gravity environment for the Lightcraft outermost corridors. The artificial gravity allows the crew to walk on the `outer curved wall' of the Lightcraft and helps maintain the crew's physical fitness in Space. The study of the architecture of artificial gravity environments by T. Hall shows the specific "comfort zone" relationship between centrifuge diameter, rotational speed, and average height of the crew. Based on the Lightcraft's diameter (rotational radius = 10 m), the optimal rate of rotation is 3 RPM. The Lightcraft produces about 1/5 G of artificial gravity at the bridge (observation deck). Under these circumstances, the normal walking speed of a crew is limited to 0.44 m/sec or less than 1 mile/ hour. This ensures the crew's comfort level and minimizes the change of crew's weight to 15% during motion.|
EMERGENCY ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS
The emergency environmental support systems were created for the unlikely event of a failure of the main support system. They were designed to protect the crew and prevent the complete loss of a system or the craft itself. Several emergency alert levels can arise and each level requires a specific, timely response. The outer corridor of the Lightcraft is divided into sections by pressurized bulkheads. The rooms in these bulkheads are airtight when the doors are sealed. As in a naval submarine, if a breach of the hull occurs, the bulkhead doors automatically close shutting off those sections from the rest of the ship. This protects the integrity of the Lightcraft's inflatable structure. The engineers on board and the artificially intelligent systems built into the ship need to evaluate the emerging situation and try to rectify it before a disaster occurs. However, if the situation cannot be corrected or more serious problems occur, the crew will evacuate into the inner chambers of the Lightcraft and enter their escape pods. The pilot, co-pilot and engineers are the last to leave the ship, and will attempt to repair the damage. Emergency extra-vehicular activity (EVA) equipment such as helmets and gloves are also located in throughout the ship in case the atmosphere in the ship is not one in which the crew can safely work. If the complete failure of the Lightcraft structure is imminent the crew is to begin partial liquid respiration and the escape pods are ejected to remove them from harm as quickly and safely as possible. The release of the escape pods is a last resort, however.
The Lightcraft sustains a closed ecological system to support its crewmembers. The main purpose of the waste management system is to make optimal reuse of waste products in order to minimize the storage space of expendables and the initial launch mass of the vehicle. The liquid waste and the solid waste are directed to their separate respective containment tanks. A special hazardous waste containment tank is designed to store any toxic, radioactive, or biohazard substances. These hazardous wastes are unloaded after the vehicle lands (or docks with a space station). The liquid waste recycling unit uses a series of mechanical and electrical filtration processes to separate solid and liquid waste. Also, OPFC is recycled in the liquid waste-recycling unit. In the solid waste-recycling unit, the solid waste is compressed and the liquid is extracted and the resulting liquid-waste is transported to the liquid-waste recycling unit. High-density solid waste containment unit stores the remaining (or residual) solid waste until it can be discarded. After finishing the recycling process from the liquid waste recycling unit, the recycled liquid goes through a microbial treatment and the quality of the recycled liquid is monitored. Any liquid that is unable to be reused or re-purified is dumped in a retrograde direction, (a direction opposite to the way the Lightcraft is traveling). The recycled liquid is now ready to be used by crews.