Clothing Systems for Long Duration Space Missions 2004-01-2580
Clothing accounts for a surprisingly large quantity of resupply and waste on the International Space Station (ISS), of the order of 14% of the equivalent system mass (ESM). Efforts are underway in the ISS program to reduce this, but much greater changes are likely to be possible and justifiable for long duration missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).
Two approaches are being assessed for long duration missions: to reduce the mass of the wardrobe through use of lighter fabrics, and to clean clothing on board for reuse. Through good design including use of modern fabrics, a lighter weight wardrobe is expected to be feasible. Collateral benefits should include greater user comfort and reduced lint generation.
A wide variety of approaches to cleaning is possible. The initial evaluation was made based on a terrestrial water-based washer and dryer system, as this represents the greatest experience base. This approach would depend significantly on the cost of water regeneration, which has been assessed. Alternative approaches are being investigated to determine if there are net advantages for long duration missions.