Solids Waste Processing and Resource Recovery for Long-Duration Missions – A Workshop 2001-01-2351
Future long-duration human space exploration missions will require increased system autonomy and reliability with fidelities beyond the present level of life support technology. Long-duration planetary missions will require Advanced Life Support (ALS) systems to provide methods for crop and food production, air and water recycling, and solid waste resource recovery. Among these principal life support functional areas, solid waste processing will need significant development. Because of this need, a solid waste processing and resource recovery (SWPRR) workshop was held in April 2000, to assess solid waste processing technologies. The purpose of the workshop was to gather data and provide input to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a solid waste processing research and technology development (R&TD) strategy.
This paper discusses the workshop assessment methodology and the results. The workshop was divided into four functional components of solid waste processing: 1) pre-processing, 2) physicochemical primary processing, 3) biological primary processing, and 4) post-treatment technologies. Prior to developing the technology assessment methodology, five potential Mars mission scenarios were assumed. These Mars scenarios ranged from transit vehicle to extended Martian base. Waste models detailing the quantity and quality of waste components expected for specific mission scenario elements were then established. Technology assessments were based on the waste model developed for each scenario. Technology assessments included identifying technology strengths and limitations in the context of the assumed NASA missions and highlighting possible approaches to overcome any limitations.
Thirty-two candidate solid waste processing technologies were independently assessed using established parameters and criteria such as Equivalent System Mass (ESM), technology readiness levels (TRLs), reliability, use of expendables, and operational gravitational dependence performance needs.