- Provide oxygen
- Remove carbon dioxide
- Maintain a comfortable temperature
- Protect the inhabitants from radiation
- Provide gravity
Since the missions undertaken by the OCESS cover much more distance than those of other space agencies, the environmental systems must be able to keep working for long stretchs of time without need of maintenence or resupply. Also, to minimize weight, these systems must be small and consume the least amount of supplies possible.
The life support system obtains its supply of oxygen from the fusion reactor fuel. The fusion reactor aboard the AYSE Drive uses hydrogen as fuel. This hydrogen is stored in the form of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which is kept under pressure. Unlike water, hydrogen peroxide decomposes naturally into hydrogen and oxygen without the need for energy-consuming electrolysis. The resulting hydrogen is then fed into the fusion reactor whereas the oxygen is fed into the life support system.
Using this system eliminates the need for the refrigeration, which is needed to store liquid oxygen and hydrogen separately. We also eliminate the need to expend great amounts of energy in breaking up water to provide hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis.
Removing Carbon Dioxide
A life support system that provides oxygen is no good unless it can remove the carbon dioxide produces by the human body. Since carbon dioxide scrubbers have too short a lifespan to last the duration of a mission, a new way of removing carbon dioxide was needed. Carbon dioxide is removed by way of a cryogenic scrubber. The air is circulated through pipes chilled by a refrigerant at -78ºC. This causes the carbon dioxide to liquefy while leaving the other gases in a gaseous state. This liquid carbon dioxide is then gathered up and evacuated.
The carbon dioxide gas is disposed of in one of two ways. It can be transformed into methane using the extreme heat of the fusion reactor coolant and some extra hydrogen fuel. This methane is then used to power the puffer jets that maneuver the Habitat. Alternatively, the gas can be ionized and fed into the plasma drives to provide extra thrust, like an afterburner.
To maintain a constant temperature in space, the habitat is coated with a special white paint. This gives the Habitat an exceptionally high albedo and reflects about 80% of all heat radiation. To affect the temperature of the habitat in a more active way, reactor coolant can be pumped through tubes embedded in the habitat walls to provide heat; and refrigerant from the cryogenic carbon dioxide scrubber is used to cool down the habitat further.
- Main article: Hull construction
The Hull plating of the habitat can be polarized, thereby repelling most types of radiation. Since polarizing the plating requires a lot of energy, the plating will only be polarized during severe ion storms. Normaly, the habitat walls are sufficiently insulated to stop most radiation.
- Main article: Artificial Gravity
To provide gravity while on its own, the habitat puts itself in a barrel roll, and the resulting centrifugal force provides enough gravity for the astronauts to function. While traveling with the AYSE Drive, the constant acceleration provides gravity through the inertia of the astronauts and the habitat.