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Technical Paper

A Pilot Scale System for Low Temperature Solid Waste Oxidation and Recovery of Water

2009-07-12
2009-01-2365
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The goals outlined in this document include extending the human presence in the solar system, culminating in the exploration of Mars. A key requirement for this effort is to identify a safe and effective method to process waste. Methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis, drying, and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this work was to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. TDA and NASA Ames Research Center have developed a pilot scale low temperature ozone oxidation system to convert organic waste to CO2 and H2O.
Technical Paper

Reactive Carbon from Life Support Wastes for Incinerator Flue Gas Cleanup

2000-07-10
2000-01-2283
This paper presents the results from a joint research initiative between NASA Ames Research Center and Lawrence Berkeley National lab. The objective of the research is to produce activated carbon from life support wastes and to use the activated carbon to adsorb and chemically reduce the NOx and SO2 contained in incinerator flue gas. Inedible biomass waste from food production is the primary waste considered for conversion to activated carbon. Results to date show adsorption of both NOx and SO2 in activated carbon made from biomass. Conversion of adsorbed NOx to nitrogen has also been observed.
Technical Paper

Construction of a Water-Absorbent, Zero-G, Compactor Trash Bag

2007-07-09
2007-01-3262
The initial concepts and construction of a three layered, water-absorbent, zero-G, compactor trash bag will be described. This bag is composed of an inner wicking layer, a middle absorbent layer, and an outer containment layer. The primary properties of the wicking layer are the fast adsorption of any free liquid released within the trash bag and the lateral spreading of this liquid around the interior of the bag. The absorbent layer sequesters and stores the liquid captured by the wicking layer. It need not be as fast acting as the wicking layer, but has to have a much larger capacity. The containment layer allows for handling of the bag without worry of releasing the contents. The combined strength of the three layers needs to be sufficient to withstand the forces exerted by the compactor.
Technical Paper

Development and Testing of a Breadboard Compactor for Advanced Waste Management Designs

2007-07-09
2007-01-3267
Waste management is a vital function of spacecraft life support systems as it is necessary to meet crew health and safety and quality of life requirements. Depending on the specific mission requirements, waste management operations can include waste collection, segregation, containment, processing, storage and disposal. For the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), addressing volume and mass constraints is paramount. Reducing the volume of trash prior to storage is a viable means to recover habitable volume, and is therefore a particularly desirable waste management function to implement in the CEV, and potentially in other spacecraft as well. Research is currently being performed at NASA Ames Research Center to develop waste compaction systems that can provide both volume and mass savings for the CEV and other missions.
Technical Paper

Investigating the Partitioning of Inorganic Elements Consumed by Humans between the Various Fractions of Human Wastes - An Alternative Approach

2003-07-07
2003-01-2371
The elemental composition of food consumed by astronauts is well defined. The major elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur are taken up in large amounts and these are often associated with the organic fraction (carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc) of human tissue. On the other hand, a number of the elements are located in the extracellular fluids and can be accounted for in the liquid and solid waste fraction of humans. These elements fall into three major categories - cationic macroelements (e.g. Ca, K, Na, Mg and Si), anionic macroelements (e.g. P, S and Cl and17 essential microelements, (e.g. Fe, Mn, Cr, Co, Cu, Zn, Se and Sr). When provided in the recommended concentrations to an adult healthy human, these elements should not normally accumulate in humans and will eventually be excreted in the different human wastes.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Mission Location on Mission Costs and Equivalent System Mass

2003-07-07
2003-01-2633
Equivalent System Mass (ESM) is used by the Advanced Life Support (ALS) community to quantify mission costs of technologies for space applications (Drysdale et al, 1999, Levri et al, 2000). Mass is used as a cost measure because the mass of an object determines propulsion (acceleration) cost (i.e. amount of fuel needed), and costs relating to propulsion dominate mission cost. Mission location drives mission cost because acceleration is typically required to initiate and complete a change in location. Total mission costs may be reduced by minimizing the mass of materials that must be propelled to each distinct location. In order to minimize fuel requirements for missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO), the hardware and astronauts may not all go to the same location. For example, on a Lunar or Mars mission, some of the hardware or astronauts may stay in orbit while the rest of the hardware and astronauts descend to the planetary surface.
Technical Paper

Requirements Development Issues for Advanced Life Support Systems: Solid Waste Management

2002-07-15
2002-01-2479
Long duration missions pose substantial new challenges for solid waste management in Advanced Life Support (ALS) systems. These possibly include storing large volumes of waste material in a safe manner, rendering wastes stable or sterilized for extended periods of time, and/or processing wastes for recovery of vital resources. This is further complicated because future missions remain ill-defined with respect to waste stream quantity, composition and generation schedule. Without definitive knowledge of this information, development of mission requirements is hampered. Additionally, even if waste streams were well characterized, other operational and processing needs require clarification (e.g. resource recovery requirements and planetary protection constraints). Therefore, the development of solid waste management (SWM) subsystem requirements for long duration space missions is an inherently uncertain, complex and iterative process.
Technical Paper

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

2002-07-15
2002-01-2476
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

Experimental Results Obtained with a Pilot Scale System to Remove Pollutants from an Incinerator Effluent

2002-07-15
2002-01-2395
Incineration is a promising method for converting biomass and human waste into CO2 and H2O during extended planetary exploration. Unfortunately, it produces NOX and other pollutants. TDA Research has developed a safe and effective process to remove NOX from waste incinerator product gas streams. In our process, NO is catalytically oxidized to NO2, which is then removed with a wet scrubber. In a SBIR Phase II project, TDA designed and constructed a pilot scale system, which will be used with the incinerator at NASA Ames Research Center. In this paper, we present test results obtained with our system, which clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach to NOX control.
Journal Article

Development and Design of a Low Temperature Solid Waste Oxidation and Water Recovery System

2008-06-29
2008-01-2052
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The goals outlined in this document include extending the human presence in the solar system, culminating in the exploration of Mars. A key requirement for this effort is to identify a safe and effective method to process waste. Methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis, drying, and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this work is to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. Previously, TDA Research, Inc. demonstrated the potential of a low temperature dry oxidation process using ozone in a small laboratory reactor.
Journal Article

Waste Management Technology and the Drivers for Space Missions

2008-06-29
2008-01-2047
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.
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