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Technical Paper

Quality of Water Supplied by Shuttle to ISS

The water supply for the International Space Station (ISS) consists partially of excess fuel-cell water that is treated on the Shuttle and stored on ISS in 44 L collapsible Contingency Water Containers (CWCs). Iodine is removed from the source water, and silver biocide and mineral concentrates are added by the crewmember while the CWCs are filled. Potable (mineralized) CWCs are earmarked for drinking and food hydration, and technical (non-mineralized) CWCs are reserved for waste system flushing and electrolytic oxygen generation. Representative samples are collected in Teflon® bags and returned to Earth for chemical analysis. The parameters typically measured include pH, conductivity, total organic carbon, iodine, silver, calcium, magnesium, fluoride, trace metals, formate and alcohols. The Nylon monomer caprolactam is also measured and tracked since it is known to leach slowly out of the plastic CWC bladder material.
Technical Paper

Identification of an Organic Impurity Leaching from a Prototype ISS Water Container

Collapsible bladder tanks called Contingency Water Containers (CWCs) have been used to transfer water from the Shuttle to the Mir and the International Space Station (ISS). Because their use as potable water storage on the ISS is planned for years, efforts are underway to improve the containers, including the evaluation of new materials. Combitherm®, a multi-layer plastic film, is a material under evaluation for use as the CWC bag material. It consists of layers of linear low density polyethylene, ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer, nylon, and a solvent- free adhesive layer. Long term studies of the quality of water stored in Combitherm bladders indicate a gradual but steady increase in the total organic carbon value. This suggests a leaching or breakdown of an organic component of the Combitherm.
Technical Paper

Chemical Analysis and Water Recovery Testing of Shuttle-Mir Humidity Condensate

Humidity condensate collected and processed in-flight is an important component of a space station drinking water supply. Water recovery systems in general are designed to handle finite concentrations of specific chemical components. Previous analyses of condensate derived from spacecraft and ground sources showed considerable variation in composition. Consequently, an investigation was conducted to collect condensate on the Shuttle while the vehicle was docked to Mir, and return the condensate to Earth for testing. This scenario emulates an early ISS configuration during a Shuttle docking, because the atmospheres intermix during docking and the condensate composition should reflect that. During the STS-89 and STS-91 flights, a total volume of 50 liters of condensate was collected and returned. Inorganic and organic chemical analyses were performed on aliquots of the fluid.