International Space Station Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (ISS CDRA) Concepts and Advancements 2005-01-2892
An important aspect of air revitalization for life support in spacecraft is the removal of carbon dioxide from cabin air. Several types of carbon dioxide removal systems are in use or have been proposed for use in spacecraft life support systems. These systems rely on various removal techniques that employ different architectures and media for scrubbing CO2, such as permeable membranes, liquid amine, adsorbents, and absorbents. Sorbent systems have been used since the first manned missions. The current state of key technology is the existing International Space Station (ISS) Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA), a system that selectively removes carbon dioxide from the cabin atmosphere. The CDRA system was launched aboard UF-2 in February 2001 and resides in the U.S. Destiny Laboratory module. During the past four years, the CDRA system has experienced operational limitations. Troubleshooting the CDRA system resulted in several approaches to developing work-around solutions that would minimize the impact on astronaut time required to implement interim solutions.
The paper discusses some of the short-term solutions applied to promote hardware life and restore full functionality, as well as long-term plans and solutions for improving operability and reliability.
The CDRA is a critical piece of life support equipment in the air revitalization system of the ISS, and is demonstrated technology that may ultimately prove well-suited for use in lunar or Mars base, and Mars transit life support applications.