Prototype Space Mission SEBAC Biological Solid Waste Management System 2004-01-2466
This paper reports on fabrication, installation, start-up and shakedown of a full-scale prototype solid waste management system designed to be a principal component in a bio-regenerative solid waste management system to support a 6-person crew on long-term space missions. System design is based upon a patented process for odorless bioconversion of organic solid wastes to biogas and compost by anaerobic digestion. The system consists of five reactors and two gas-liquid separators designed for operation under conditions of micro-gravity. During any week of operation, one reactor is used for feed collection and compaction, three for stage-wise anaerobic composting, and one for post-treatment aerobic stabilization, while simultaneously serving as a bio-filter in the pretreatment of cabin air within the air revitalization subsystem. Each reactor carries its one-week charge of feedstock through all five stages of bioconversion in completing a five-week sequential batch cycle. Preliminary operating performance for the anaerobic stages is presented, along with plans for further design improvement and integration with other ALS subsystems.