Throughout the history of manned space flight the supply of potable water to the astronauts has presented unique problems. Of particular concern has been the microbiological quality of the potable water. This has required the development of both preflight water system servicing procedures to disinfect the systems and inflight disinfectant addition and monitoring devices to ensure continuing microbiological control. The disinfectants successfully used to date have been aqueous chlorine or iodine. Because of special system limitations the use of iodine has been the most successful for inflight use and promises to be the agent most likely to be used in the future.
Future spacecraft potable, hygiene, and experiment water systems will utilize recycled water. This will present special problems for water quality control. NASA is currently conducting research and development to solve these problems.