Performance Assessment of the Exploration Water Recovery System 2008-01-2140
A new water recovery system architecture designed to fulfill the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Space Exploration Policy has been tested at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). This water recovery system architecture evolved from the current state-of-the-art system developed for the International Space Station (ISS). Through novel integration of proven technologies for air and water purification, this system promises to elevate existing system optimization.
The novel aspect of the system is twofold. First, volatile organic compounds (VOC) are removed from the cabin air via catalytic oxidation in the vapor phase, prior to their absorption into the aqueous phase. Second, vapor compression distillation (VCD) technology processes the condensate and hygiene waste streams in addition to the urine waste stream. Oxidation kinetics dictate that removing VOCs from the vapor phase is more efficient. Treating the various waste streams by VCD reduces the load on the expendable ion exchange and adsorption media which follows, as well as the aqueous-phase catalytic oxidation process further downstream. This paper documents the results of testing this new architecture.