ESM Analysis of COTS Laundry Systems for Space Missions 2002-01-2518
Clothing supply has been examined for historical, current, and planned missions. For STS, crew clothing is stowed on the orbiter and returned to JSC for refurbishment. On Mir, clothing was supplied and then disposed of on Progress for incineration on re-entry. For ISS, the Russian laundry and 75% of the US laundry is placed on Progress for destructive re-entry. The rest of the US laundry is stowed in mesh bags and returned to earth in the Multi Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) or in the STS middeck. For previous missions, clothing was supplied and thrown away.
Supplying clothing without washing dirty clothing will be costly for long-duration missions. An on-board laundry system may reduce overall mission costs, as shown in previous, less accurate, metric studies. Some design and development of flight hardware laundry systems has been completed, such as the SBIR Phase I and Phase II study performed by UMPQUA Research Company for JSC in 1993. However, while there has been significant development of “commercial off the shelf” products for terrestrial laundry applications, trade studies to evaluate the value of these approaches for use in space have been limited.
Terrestrial laundry systems have made significant advances in reducing water, detergent, and power requirements over the past decade. It seems clear that non-traditional commercial technology has much to offer the human space program. It may be advantageous, as well as less costly, to build upon the expertise of industry to modify equipment for flight rather than engineering a laundry system for space applications from scratch. This study compared the equivalent system mass for commercial laundry systems to laundry supply for three long duration planetary missions and for ISS.