Chemical Analysis and Water Recovery Testing of Shuttle-Mir Humidity Condensate 1999-01-2029
Humidity condensate collected and processed in-flight is an important component of a space station drinking water supply. Water recovery systems in general are designed to handle finite concentrations of specific chemical components. Previous analyses of condensate derived from spacecraft and ground sources showed considerable variation in composition. Consequently, an investigation was conducted to collect condensate on the Shuttle while the vehicle was docked to Mir, and return the condensate to Earth for testing. This scenario emulates an early ISS configuration during a Shuttle docking, because the atmospheres intermix during docking and the condensate composition should reflect that. During the STS-89 and STS-91 flights, a total volume of 50 liters of condensate was collected and returned. Inorganic and organic chemical analyses were performed on aliquots of the fluid. Tests using the actual condensate were then conducted with scaled-down elements of the Russian condensate recovery system to determine the quality of water produced. The composition and test results are described, and implications for ISS are discussed.