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Technical Paper

Steady-State System Mass Balance for the BIO-Plex

A steady-state system mass balance calculation was performed to investigate design issues regarding the storage and/or processing of solid waste. In the initial stages of BIO-Plex, only a certain percentage of the food requirement will be satisfied through crop growth. Since some food will be supplied to the system, an equivalent amount of waste will accumulate somewhere in the system. It is a system design choice as to where the mass should accumulate in the system. Here we consider two approaches. One is to let solid waste accumulate in order to reduce the amount of material processing that is needed. The second is to process all of the solid waste to reduce solid waste storage and then either resupply oxygen or add physical/chemical (P/C) processors to recover oxygen from the excess carbon dioxide and water that is produced by the solid waste processor.
Technical Paper

Characterization of Condensate from the Research Animal Holding Facility (RAHF)

Life Sciences research on Space Station will utilize rats to study the effects of the microgravity environment on mammalian physiology and to develop countermeasures to those effects for the health and safety of the crew. The animals will produce metabolic water which must be reclaimed to minimize logistics support. The condensate from the Research Animal Holding Facility (RAHF) flown on Spacelab Life Sciences-2 (SLS-2) in October 1993 was used as an analog to determine the type and quantity of constituents which the Space Station (SS) water reclamation system will have to process. The most significant organics present in the condensate were 2-propanol, glycerol, ethylene glycol, 1,2-propanediol, acetic acid, acetone, total proteins, urea and caprolactam while the most significant inorganic was ammonia. Microbial isolates included Xanthomonas, Sphingobacterium, Pseudomonas, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Chrysosporium.
Technical Paper

Lunar Base Life Support Failure Analysis and Simulation

Dynamic simulation of the lunar outpost habitat life support was undertaken to investigate the impact of life support failures and to investigate possible responses. Some preparatory static analysis for the Lunar Outpost life support model, an earlier version of the model, and an investigation into the impact of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) were reported previously. (Jones, 2008-01-2184, 2008-01-2017) The earlier model was modified to include possible resupply delays, power failures, recycling system failures, and atmosphere and other material storage failures. Most failures impact the lunar outpost water balance and can be mitigated by reducing water usage. Food solids and nitrogen can be obtained only by resupply from Earth. The most time urgent failure is a loss of carbon dioxide removal capability. Life support failures might be survivable if effective operational solutions are provided in the system design.
Technical Paper

Carbon Production in Space from Pyrolysis of Solid Waste

Pyrolysis processing of solid waste in space will inevitably lead to carbon formation as a primary pyrolysis product. The amount of carbon depends on the composition of the starting materials and the pyrolysis conditions (temperature, heating rate, residence time, pressure). Many paper and plastic materials produce almost no carbon residue upon pyrolysis, while most plant biomass materials or human wastes will yield up to 20-40 weight percent on a dry, as-received basis. In cases where carbon production is significant, it can be stored for later use to produce CO2 for plant growth. Alternatively it can be partly gasified by an oxidizing gas (e.g., CO2, H2O, O2) in order to produce activated carbon. Activated carbons have a unique capability of strongly absorbing a great variety of species, ranging from SO2 and NOx, trace organics, mercury, and other heavy metals.
Technical Paper

Waste Compaction Technology Development for Human Space Exploration Missions

Waste management is a critical component of life support systems for manned space exploration. Human occupied spacecraft and extraterrestrial habitats must be able to effectively manage the waste generated throughout the entire mission duration. The requirements for waste systems may vary according to specific mission scenarios but all waste management operations must allow for the effective collection, containment, processing, and storage of unwanted materials. NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle usually referred to as the CEV, will have limited volume for equipment and crew. Technologies that reduce waste storage volume free up valuable space for other equipment. Waste storage volume is a major driver for the Orion waste compactor design. Current efforts at NASA Ames Research Center involve the development of two different prototype compactors designed to minimize trash storage space.
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.
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.