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Technical Paper

Investigations into Water Recovery from Solid Wastes using a Microwave Solid Waste Stabilization and Water Recovery System

A microwave powered solid waste stabilization and water recovery prototype was delivered to Ames Research Center through an SBIR Phase II contract awarded to Umpqua Research Company. The system uses a container capable of holding 5.7 dm3 volume of waste. The microwave power can be varied to operate either at full power (130 W) or in a variable mode from 0% and 100%. Experiments were conducted with different types of wastes (wet cloth, simulated feces/diarrheal wastes, wet trash and brine) at different levels of moisture content and dried under varying microwave power supply. This paper presents the experimental data. The results provide valuable insight into the different operation modes under which the prototype can be used to recover water from the wastes in a space environment. Further investigations and testing of the prototype are recommended.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the Microwave Enhanced Freeze Drying Technology for Processing Solid Wastes

A Microwave Enhanced Freeze Drying Solid Waste (MEFDSW) processor was delivered to NASA-Ames Research Center by Umpqua Company having been funded through a Small Business Innovative Research Phase II program. The prototype hardware was tested for its performance characteristics and for its functionality with the primary focus being the removal of water from solid wastes. Water removal from wastes enables safe storage of wastes, prevents microbes from growing and propagating using the waste as a substrate and has potential for recovery and reuse of the water. Other objectives included measurements of the power usage and a preliminary estimate of the Equivalent System Mass (ESM) value. These values will be used for comparison with other candidate water removal technologies currently in development.
Journal Article

Waste Management Technology and the Drivers for Space Missions

Since the mid 1980s, NASA has developed advanced waste management technologies that collect and process waste. These technologies include incineration, hydrothermal oxidation, pyrolysis, electrochemical oxidation, activated carbon production, brine dewatering, slurry bioreactor oxidation, composting, NOx control, compaction, and waste collection. Some of these technologies recover resources such as water, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon, fuels, and nutrients. Other technologies such as the Waste Collection System (WCS - the commode) collect waste for storage or processing. The need for waste processing varies greatly depending upon the mission scenario. This paper reviews the waste management technology development activities conducted by NASA since the mid 1980s and explores the drivers that determine the application of these technologies to future missions.
Technical Paper

Considerations in Selection of Solid Waste Management Approaches in Long-Duration Space Missions

Solid Waste Management (SWM) systems of current and previous space flight missions have employed relatively uncomplicated methods of waste collection, storage and return to Earth. NASA's long-term objectives, however, will likely include human-rated missions that are longer in both duration and distance, with little to no opportunity for re-supply. Such missions will likely exert increased demands upon all sub-systems, particularly the SWM system. In order to provide guidance to SWM Research and Technology Development (R&TD) efforts and overall system development, the establishment of appropriate SWM system requirements is necessary. Because future long duration missions are not yet fully defined, thorough mission-specific requirements have not yet been drafted.
Technical Paper

Modeling of a Composting System within BIO-Plex

BIO-Plex is a ground-based test bed currently under development by NASA for testing technologies and practices that may be utilized in future long-term life support missions. All aspects of such an Advanced Life Support (ALS) System must be considered to confidently construct a reliable system, which will not only allow the crew to survive in harsh environments, but allow the crew time to perform meaningful research. Effective handling of solid wastes is a critical aspect of the system, especially when recovery of resources contained in the waste is required. This is particularly important for ALS Systems configurations that include a Biomass Production Chamber. In these cases, significant amounts of inedible biomass waste may be produced, which can ultimately serve as a repository of necessary resources for sustaining life, notably carbon, water, and plant nutrients. Numerous biological and physicochemical solid waste processing options have been considered.