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Technical Paper

A High Efficiency Magnetic Activated Sludge Reactor for Wastewater Processing

Technologies for the recycling of water are a primary goal of NASA’s advanced life support programs. Biological processes have been identified as an attractive method for wastewater processing. A fundamental new bioreactor based on a traditional activated sludge process is demonstrated that treats hygiene wastewater using magnetic iron oxide particles agglomerated with microbial cells. In this bioreactor, microbes are suspended in magnetic flocs in a wastewater medium. Instead of a traditional gravity separator used in activated sludge operations, a magnetic separator removes the microbial flocs from the outlet stream. The reactor separation operates continuously, independent of gravitational influences. The reactor has been able to simultaneously remove 98% of high levels of both nitrogenous and organic carbon impurities from the wastewater as well as achieve acceptably low levels of total suspended solids.
Technical Paper

Development Status of the VPCAR Water Processor Assembly

The purification of waste water is a critical element of any long-duration space mission. The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system offers the promise of a technology requiring low quantities of expendable material that is suitable for exploration missions. NASA has funded an effort to produce an engineering development unit specifically targeted for integration into the NASA Johnson Space Center's Integrated Human Exploration Mission Simulation Facility (INTEGRITY) formally known in part as the Bioregenerative Planetary Life Support Test Complex (Bio-Plex) and the Advanced Water Recovery System Development Facility. The system includes a Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk (WFRD) evaporator redesigned with micro-gravity operation enhancements, which evaporates wastewater and produces water vapor with only volatile components as contaminants. Volatile contaminants, including organics and ammonia, are oxidized in a catalytic reactor while they are in the vapor phase.
Technical Paper

Early Results of an Integrated Water Recovery System Test

The work presented in this paper summarizes the early results of an integrated advanced water recovery system test conducted by the Crew and Thermal Systems Division (CTSD) at NASA-Johnson Space Center (JSC). The system design and the results of the first two months of operation are presented. The overall objective of this test is to demonstrate the capability of an integrated advanced water recovery system to produce potable quality water for at least six months. Each subsystem is designed for operation in microgravity. The primary treatment system consists of a biological system for organic carbon and ammonia removal. Dissolved solids are removed by reverse osmosis and air evaporation systems. Finally, ion exchange technology in combination with photolysis or photocatalysis is used for polishing of the effluent water stream. The wastewater stream consists of urine and urine flush water, hygiene wastewater and a simulated humidity condensate.
Technical Paper

Regenerative Water Recovery System Testing and Model Correlation

Biological wastewater processing has been under investigation by AlliedSignal Aerospace and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) for future use in space. Testing at JSC in the Hybrid Regenerative Water Recovery System (HRWRS) in preparation for future closed human testing has been performed. Computer models have been developed to aid in the design of a new four-person immobilized cell bioreactor. The design of the reactor and validation of the computer model is presented. In addition, the total organic carbon (TOC) computer model has been expanded to begin investigation of nitrification. This model is being developed to identify the key parameters of the nitrification process, and to improve the design and operating conditions of nitrifying bioreactors. In addition, the model can be used as a design tool to rapidly predict the effects of changes in operational conditions and reactor design, significantly reducing the number and duration of experiments required.
Technical Paper

Immobilized Microbe Microgravity Water Processing System (IMMWPS) Flight Experiment Integrated Ground Test Program

This paper provides an overview of the IMMWPS Integrated Ground Test Program, completed at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) during October and November 2001. The JSC Crew and Thermal Systems Division (CTSD) has developed the IMMWPS orbital flight experiment to test the feasibility of a microbe-based water purifier for use in zero-gravity conditions. The IMMWPS design utilizes a Microbial Processor Assembly (MPA) inoculated with facultative anaerobes to convert organic contaminants in wastewater to carbon dioxide and biomass. The primary purpose of the ground test program was to verify functional operations and procedures. A secondary objective was to provide initial ground data for later comparison to on-orbit performance. This paper provides a description of the overall test program, including the test article hardware and the test sequence performed to simulate the anticipated space flight test program. In addition, a summary of significant results from the testing is provided.
Technical Paper

Development of the CELSS Emulator at NASA JSC

The Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) Emulator is under development at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) with the purpose to investigate computer simulations of integrated CELSS operations involving humans, plants, and process machinery. This paper describes Version 1.0 of the CELSS Emulator that was initiated in 1988 on the JSC Multi Purpose Applications Console Test Bed as the simulation framework. The run module of the simulation system now contains a CELSS model called BLSS. The CELSS Emulator empowers us to generate model data sets, store libraries of results for further analysis, and also display plots of model variables as a function of time. The progress of the project is presented with sample test runs and simulation display pages.
Technical Paper

Wissler Simulations of a Liquid Cooled and Ventilation Garment (LCVG) for Extravehicular Activity (EVA)

In order to provide effective cooling for astronauts during extravehicular activities (EVAs), a liquid cooling and ventilation garment (LCVG) is used to remove heat by a series of tubes through which cooling water is circulated. To better predict the effectiveness of the LCVG and determine possible modifications to improve performance, computer simulations dealing with the interaction of the cooling garment with the human body have been run using the Wissler Human Thermal Model. Simulations have been conducted to predict the heat removal rate for various liquid cooled garment configurations. The current LCVG uses 48 cooling tubes woven into a fabric with cooling water flowing through the tubes. The purpose of the current project is to decrease the overall weight of the LCVG system. In order to achieve this weight reduction, advances in the garment heat removal rates need to be obtained.
Technical Paper

Cascade Distillation Subsystem Development Testing

Recovery of potable water from wastewater is essential for the success of long-term manned missions to the moon and Mars. Honeywell International and the team consisting of Thermodistillation Company (Kyiv, Ukraine) and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Crew and Thermal Systems Division are developing a wastewater processing subsystem that is based on centrifugal vacuum distillation. The Wastewater Processing Cascade Distillation Subsystem (CDS) utilizes an innovative and efficient multi-stage thermodynamic process to produce purified water. The rotary centrifugal design of the system also provides gas/liquid phase separation and liquid transport under microgravity conditions. A five-stage prototype of the subsystem was built, delivered and integrated into the NASA JSC Advanced Water Recovery Systems Development Facility for development testing.
Technical Paper

Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project Phase III Water Recovery System Operation and Results

An integrated water recovery system was operated for 91 days in support of the Lunar Mars Life Support Test Project (LMLSTP) Phase III test. The system combined both biological and physical-chemical processes to treat a combined wastewater stream consisting of waste hygiene water, urine, and humidity condensate. Biological processes were used for primary degradation of organic material as well as for nitrification of ammonium in the wastewater. Physical-chemical systems removed inorganic salts from the water and provided post-treatment. The integrated system provided potable water to the crew throughout the test. This paper describes the water recovery system and reviews the performance of the system during the test.