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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

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.
Technical Paper

Risk Mitigation Water Quality Monitor

On the International Space Station (ISS), atmospheric humidity condensate and other waste waters will be recycled and treated to produce potable water for use by the crews. Space station requirements include an on-orbit capability for real-time monitoring of key water quality parameters, such as total organic carbon, total inorganic carbon, total carbon, pH, and conductivity, to ensure that crew health is protected for consumption of reclaimed water. The Crew Health Care System for ISS includes a total organic carbon (TOC) analyzer that is currently being designed to meet this requirement. As part of the effort, a spacecraft TOC analyzer was developed to demonstrate the technology in microgravity and mitigate risks associated with its use on station. This analyzer was successfully tested on Shuttle during the STS-81 mission as a risk mitigation experiment. A total of six ground-prepared test samples and two Mir potable water samples were analyzed in flight during the 10-day mission.
Technical Paper

Dehumidification Via Membrane Separation for Space-Based Applications

This paper describes the development of a membrane-based dehumidification process for space-based applications, such as spacecraft cabins and extra-vehicular-activity (EVA) space suits. Results presented are from 1) screening tests conducted to determine the efficacy of various membranes to separate water vapor from air, and 2) parametric and long-term tests of membranes operated at conditions that simulate the range of environmental conditions (e.g., temperature and relative humidity [RH]) expected in the planned space station. Also included in this paper is a discussion of preliminary designs of membrane-based dehumidification processes for the space station and EVA space suits. These designs result in compact and energy-efficient systems that offer significant advantages over conventional dehumidification processes.
Technical Paper

Regenerative Life Support Systems Test Bed Performance: Lettuce Crop Characterization

Two crops of lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. Waldmann's Green) were grown in the Regenerative Life Support Systems (RLSS) Test Bed at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The RLSS Test Bed is an atmospherically closed, controlled environment facility for the evaluation of regenerative life support systems using higher plants. The chamber encloses 10.6 m2 of growth area under cool-white fluorescent lamps. Lettuce was double seeded in 480 pots, each containing about 250 cm3 of calcined-clay substrate. Each pot was irrigated with half-strength Hoagland's nutrient solution at an average total applied amount of 2.5 and 1.8 liters pot-1, respectively, over each of the two 30-day crop tests. Average environmental and cultural conditions during both tests were 23°C air temperature, 72% relative humidity, 1000 ppm carbon dioxide (CO2), 16h light/8h dark photoperiod, and 356 μmol m-2s-1 photosynthetic photon flux.
Technical Paper

Characterization of Spacecraft Humidity Condensate

When construction of Space Station Freedom reaches the Permanent Manned Capability stage, plans call for the Water Recovery and Management Subsystem to treat distilled urine, spent hygiene water, and humidity condensate in order to reclaim water of potable quality. The reclamation technologies currently baselined to process these wastewaters include adsorption, ion exchange, catalytic oxidation, and disinfection. To ensure that baselined technologies will be able to effectively remove those compounds that present health risks to the crew, the National Research Council has recommended that additional information be gathered on specific contaminants in wastewaters representative of those to be encountered on Space Station. This paper reports the efforts by the Water and Food Analytical Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center to enlarge the database of potential contaminants in humidity condensate.
Technical Paper

Design of a Shuttle Air and Water Prefilter for Reduced Gravity Operation

The Space Shuttle humidity separator prefilter was developed to remove debris from the air/water stream that flows from the cabin condensing heat exchanger to the humidity separator. Debris in this flow stream has caused humidity separator pitot tube clogging and subsequent water carryover on several Shuttle flights. The first design concept of the prefilter was flown on STS-40 in June, 1991. The prefilter was installed on-orbit. Video footage of its operation revealed that the prefilter did not pass water at a constant rate, resulting in a tendency to slug the humidity separator. The results from this flight test have resulted in a complete redesign of the prefilter. In this paper the first prefilter design is described, the flight results from STS-40 are examined, and the on-orbit performance of the prefilter is explained. The redesigned prefilter is described with emphasis on the features that should allow successful reduced gravity operation.
Technical Paper

Further Characterization and Multifiltration Treatment of Shuttle Humidity Condensate

On the International Space Station (ISS), humidity condensate will be collected from the atmosphere and treated by multifiltration to produce potable water for use by the crews. Ground-based development tests have demonstrated that multifiltration beds filled with a series of ion-exchange resins and activated carbons can remove many inorganic and organic contaminants effectively from wastewaters. As a precursor to the use of this technology on the ISS, a demonstration of multifiltration treatment under microgravity conditions was undertaken. On the Space Shuttle, humidity condensate from cabin air is recovered in the atmosphere revitalization system, then stored and periodically vented to space vacuum. A Shuttle Condensate Adsorption Device (SCAD) containing sorbent materials similar to those planned for use on the ISS was developed and flown on STS-68 as a continuation of DSO 317, which was flown initially on STS-45 and STS-47.
Technical Paper

Demonstration of Super Cooled Ice as a Phase Change Material Heat Sink for Portable Life Support Systems

A phase change material (PCM) heat sink using super cooled ice as a non-toxic, non-flammable PCM is being developed for use in a portable life support system (PLSS). The latent heat of fusion for water is approximately 70% larger than most paraffin waxes, which can provide significant mass savings. Further mass reduction is accomplished by super cooling the ice significantly below its freezing temperature for additional sensible heat storage. Expansion and contraction of the water as it freezes and melts is accommodated with the use of flexible bag and foam materials. A demonstrator unit has been designed, built, and tested to demonstrate proof of concept. Both testing and modeling results are presented.
Technical Paper

The Advanced Design of a Liquid Cooling Garment Through Long-Term Research: Implications of the Test Results on Three Different Garments

The most recent goal of our research program was to identify the optimal features of each of three garments to maintain core temperature and comfort under intensive physical exertion. Four males and 2 females between the ages of 22 and 46 participated in this study. The garments evaluated were the MACS-Delphi, Russian Orlan, and NASA LCVG. Subjects were tested on different days in 2 different environmental chamber temperature/humidity conditions (24°C/H∼28%; 35°C/H∼20%). Each session consisted of stages of treadmill walking/running (250W to 700W at different stages) and rest. In general, the findings showed few consistent differences among the garments. The MACS-Delphi was better able to maintain subjects within a skin and core temperature comfort zone than was evident in the other garments as indicated by a lesser fluctuation in temperatures across physical exertion levels.
Technical Paper

Further Testing of an Amine-Based Pressure-Swing System for Carbon Dioxide and Humidity Control

In a crewed spacecraft environment, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and moisture control are crucial. Hamilton Sundstrand has developed a stable and efficient amine-based CO2 and water vapor sorbent, SA9T, that is well suited for use in a spacecraft environment. The sorbent is efficiently packaged in pressure-swing regenerable beds that are thermally linked to improve removal efficiency and minimize vehicle thermal loads. Flows are controlled with a single spool valve. This technology has been baselined for the new Orion spacecraft, but additional data was needed on the operational characteristics of the package in a simulated spacecraft environment. One unit was tested with simulated metabolic loads in a closed chamber at Johnson Space Center during the latter part of 2006. Those test results were reported in a 2007 ICES paper.
Technical Paper

Testing of an Amine-Based Pressure-Swing System for Carbon Dioxide and Humidity Control

In a crewed spacecraft environment, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and moisture control are crucial. Hamilton Sundstrand has developed a stable and efficient amine-based CO2 and water vapor sorbent, SA9T, that is well suited for use in a spacecraft environment. The sorbent is efficiently packaged in pressure-swing regenerable beds that are thermally linked to improve removal efficiency and minimize vehicle thermal loads. Flows are all controlled with a single spool valve. This technology has been baselined for the new Orion spacecraft. However, more data was needed on the operational characteristics of the package in a simulated spacecraft environment. A unit was therefore tested with simulated metabolic loads in a closed chamber at Johnson Space Center during the last third of 2006. Tests were run at a variety of cabin temperatures and with a range of operating conditions varying cycle time, vacuum pressure, air flow rate, and crew activity levels.
Technical Paper

Chemical Analysis of Potable Water and Humidity Condensate: Phase One Final Results and Lessons Learned

Twenty-nine recycled water, eight stored (ground-supplied) water, and twenty-eight humidity condensate samples were collected on board the Mir Space Station during the Phase One Program (1995-1998). These samples were analyzed to determine potability of the recycled and ground-supplied water, to support the development of water quality monitoring procedures and standards, and to assist in the development of water reclamation hardware. This paper describes and summarizes the results of these analyses and lists the lessons learned from this project. Results show that the recycled water and stored water on board Mir, in general, met NASA, Russian Space Agency (RSA), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
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.
Technical Paper

Chemical Characterization of U.S. Lab Condensate

Approximately 50% of the water consumed by International Space Station crewmembers is water recovered from cabin humidity condensate. Condensing heat exchangers in the Russian Service Module (SM) and the United States On-Orbit Segment (USOS) are used to control cabin humidity levels. In the SM, humidity condensate flows directly from the heat exchanger to a water recovery system. In the USOS, a metal bellows tank located in the US Laboratory Module (LAB) collects and stores condensate, which is periodically off-loaded in about 20-liter batches to Contingency Water Containers (CWCs). The CWCs can then be transferred to the SM and connected to a Condensate Feed Unit that pumps the condensate from the CWCs into the water recovery system for processing. Samples of the condensate in the tank are collected during the off-loads and returned to Earth for analyses.
Technical Paper

Testing and Analysis of an Environmental System Test Stand

Thermal control systems for space application plant growth chambers offer unique challenges. The ability to control temperature and humidity independently gives greater flexibility for optimizing plant growth. Desired temperature and relative humidity range vary widely from 15°C to 35°C and 65% to 85% respectively. On top of all of these variables, the thermal control system must also be conservative in power and mass. These requirements to develop and test a robust thermal control system for space applications led to the design and development of the Environmental System Test Stand (ESTS) at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). The ESTS was designed to be a size constrained, environmental control system test stand with the flexibility to allow for a variety of thermal and lighting technologies. To give greater understanding to the environmental control system, the development of the ESTS included both mathematical models and the physical test stand.
Technical Paper

International Space Station Waste Collector Subsystem Risk Mitigation Experiment Design Improvements

The International Space Station Waste Collector Subsystem Risk Mitigation Experiment (ISS WCS RME) was flown as the primary (Shuttle) WCS on Space Shuttle flight STS-104 (ISS-7A) in July 2001, to validate new design enhancements. In general, the WCS is utilized for collecting, storing, and compacting fecal & associated personal hygiene waste, in a zero gravity environment. In addition, the WCS collects and transfers urine to the Shuttle waste storage tank. All functions are executed while controlling odors and providing crew comfort. The ISS WCS previously flew on three Shuttle flights as the Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) WCS, as it was originally designed to support extended duration Space Shuttle flights up to 30 days in length. Soon after its third flight, the Space Shuttle Program decided to no longer require 30 day extended mission duration capability and provided the EDO WCS to the ISS Program.
Technical Paper

Characterization of an Improved Solid Amine for a Regenerative CO2 Removal System

The Shuttle Orbiter humidity control and carbon dioxide removal system for extended duration missions presently uses a solid amine called HS-C. This August, on board STS-62, a new solid amine called HS-C+ will be used. HS-C+ uses the same amine and the substrate material, but a different preparation process. Forty-seven breakthrough tests have been conducted to characterize the performance of HS-C+. CO2 partial pressure, bed temperature, and H2O partial pressure were varied. Eleven HS-C breakthrough tests were also run to provide a direct comparison. Under all conditions tested, HS-C+ outperformed HS-C. Both materials adsorb all CO2 and H2O available at the start of a test when the beds are fully desorbed. As the bed becomes partially loaded, the CO2 and H2O adsorption rates decrease rapidly. HS-C+ continues adsorbing all CO2 and H2O available for a longer time. Greater surface area on HS-C+ may cause the improved performance.