NASA is leading the design and development of a next-generation CO2 removal system, the Four Bed Carbon Dioxide Scrubber (4BCO2), and intends to use the International Space Station (ISS) as its testbed. A key component of the system is the blower that provides the airflow through the CO2 sorbent beds. To improve performance and reliability, magnetic levitation (magnetic bearings) will be used in lieu of more conventional bearings (e.g. ball bearings or air bearings) to improve resistance to contaminants and enable extensibility with regards to blower speed, pressure rise and mass flow rate. The blower will pull air from the ISS through an adsorbing desiccant bed and push it through a CO2 sorbent bed and desorbing desiccant bed. The 4BCO2 blower features an overhung permanent magnet motor, a centrally located five-axis, active magnetic bearing system, backup bearings, and an overhung centrifugal impeller in a very compact package. Magnetic bearings are a natural choice for this application due to low power consumption, low transmitted vibration and oil free operation. This paper describes the design considerations and design selections for the blower system with a focus on the magnetic bearings. Magnetic FEA of the actuator/sensor system, rotordynamics/controls analysis, and backup bearing drop simulations are discussed in detail. It is expected that the successful implementation of magnetic bearings for this space application will encourage the more widespread adoption in other space applications (e.g., fluid pumps, reaction wheels) that challenge conventional bearing technologies.

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