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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

Collection and Chemical Analysis of Reclaimed Water and Condensate from the Mir Space Station

Potable- and hygiene-quality water will be supplied to crews on the International Space Station through the recovery and purification of spacecraft wastewaters, including humidity condensate, urine, and wash water. Contaminants released into the cabin air from human metabolism, hardware offgassing, flight experiments, and routine operations will be present in spacecraft humidity condensate; normal constituents of urine and bathing water will be present in urine and untreated wash water. This report describes results from detailed analyses of Mir reclaimed potable water, ground-supplied water, and humidity condensate. These results are being used to develop and test water recycling and monitoring systems for the International Space Station (ISS); to evaluate the efficiency of the Mir water processors; and to determine the potability of the recycled water on board.
Technical Paper

A Total Organic Carbon Analyzer for Space Potable Water Systems

A Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Analyzer has been developed for a Life Sciences Risk Mitigation Flight Experiment to be conducted on Spacehab and the Russian space station, Mir. Initial launch is scheduled for December 1996 (flight STS-81). The analyzer will be tested on the Orbiter in the Spacehab module, including when the Orbiter is docked at the Mir space station. The analyzer is scheduled to be launched again in May 1997 (STS-84) when it will be transferred to Mir. During both flights the analyzer will measure the quality of recycled and ground-supplied potable water on the space station. Samples will be archived for later return to the ground, where they will be analyzed for comparison to in-flight results. Water test samples of known composition, brought up with the analyzer, also will be used to test its performance in microgravity. Ground-based analyses of duplicates of those test samples will be conducted concurrently with the in-flight analyses.
Technical Paper

Comparison Studies of Candidate Nutrient Delivery Systems for Plant Cultivation in Space

A reliable nutrient delivery system is essential for long-term cultivation of plants in space. At the Kennedy Space Center, a series of ground-based tests are being conducted to compare candidate plant nutrient delivery systems for space. To date, our major focus has concentrated on the Porous Tube Plant Nutrient Delivery System, the ASTROCULTURE™ System, and a zeoponic plant growth substrate. The merits of each system are based upon the performance of wheat supported over complete growth cycles. To varying degrees, each system supported wheat biomass production and showed distinct patterns for plant nutrient uptake and water use.
Technical Paper

Performance of the Water Recovery System During Phase II of the Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project

The recovery of potable water from waste water produced by humans in regenerative life support systems is essential for success of long-duration space missions. The Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project (LMLSTP) Phase II test was performed to validate candidate technologies to support these missions. The test was conducted in the Crew and Thermal Systems Division (CTSD) Life Support Systems Integration Facility (LSSIF) at Johnson Space Center (JSC). Discussed in this paper are the water recovery system (WRS) results of this test. A crew of 4-persons participated in the test and lived in the LSSIF chamber for a duration of 30-days from June 12 to July 12, 1996. The crew had accommodations for personal hygiene, the air was regenerated for reuse, and the waste water was processed to potable and hygiene quality for reuse by the crew during this period. The waste water consisted of shower, laundry, handwash, urine and 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

Design of an Electrochemical Tubulated Bipolar Membrane Breadboard System for the Treatment of Spacecraft Waste Water

The removal of dissolved ions from waste water is essential for water repurification on long-term human space missions. Lynntech, Inc., has demonstrated a novel electrochemically driven purification method using tubulated bipolar ion exchange membranes for the separation of dissolved inorganic impurities as well as charged organic species from waste water. Generally, electrochemical separation methods have limited applications since they can only be applied to the purification of water that has a sufficiently high dissolved ion content to make the water conductive. The novel tubulated bipolar membranes composed of bilayers of oppositely charged ionically conducting polymers can be used to overcome this limitation. This paper deals with the scaling-up of such a device to increase the throughput to process about 100 liters of waste water per day. This is achieved by using stacks of tubulated bipolar membranes.
Technical Paper

Enhanced Performance Evaporative Heat Sinks for Space Applications

An evaporative heat sink has been designed and built by AlliedSignal for NASA's Johnson Space Center. The unit is a demonstrator of a primary heat exchanger for NASA's prototype Crew Return Vehicle (CRV), designated the X-38. The primary heat exchanger is responsible for rejecting the heat produced by both the flight crew and the avionics. Spacecraft evaporative heat sinks utilize space vacuum as a resource to control the vapor pressure of a liquid. For the X-38, water has been chosen as the heat transport fluid. A portion of this coolant flow is bled off for use as the evaporant. At sufficiently low pressures, the water can be made to boil at temperatures approaching its freezing point. Heat transferred to liquid water in this state will cause the liquid to evaporate, thus creating a heat sink for the spacecraft's coolant loop. The CRV mission requires the heat exchanger to be compact and low in mass.
Technical Paper

SAWD II Subsystem Integration into the Variable Pressure Growth Chamber: A Systems Level Analysis Using CASE/A

The NASA Johnson Space Center has plans to integrate a Solid Amine Water Desorbed (SAWD II) carbon dioxide removal subsystem into the Variable Pressure Growth Chamber (VPGC). The SAWD II subsystem will be used to remove any excess carbon dioxide (CO2) input into the VPGC which is not assimilated by the plants growing in the chamber. An analysis of the integrated VPGC-SAWD II system was performed using a mathematical model of the system implemented in the Computer-Aided System Engineering and Analysis (CASE/A) package. The analysis consisted of an evaluation of the SAWD II subsystem configuration within the VPGC, the planned operations for the subsystem, and the overall performance of the subsystem and other VPGC subsystems. Based on the model runs, recommendations were made concerning the SAWD II subsystem configuration and operations, and the chambers' automatic CO2 injection control subsystem.
Technical Paper

Physiological Experience During Shuttle EVA

To date, 59 man-EVA's have been conducted in the Shuttle Program with minimum physiological problems or limitations. The physiological requirements for life support in the Shuttle EVA include pressure, gas composition, inspired CO2 pressure, heat- removal capability, in-suit water replacement, and caloric replacement. These requirements and their basis in verification testing or analysis are reviewed. The operational measures are identified. The suit pressure in combination with a gas composition of at least 92 percent assures that sufficient O2 pressure is available to the crewmember. The nominal suit pressure of 4.3 psi±0.1 psi was maintained during all 59 man-EVA's. The contingency suit pressure was never required to be used. The suit pressure in combination with the cabin pressure and pre-EVA denitrogenation procedures minimize the risk of altitude decompression sickness. There has been no incidence of decompression sickness during Shuttle EVA.
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

Operation of a Breadboard Liquid-Sorbent/Membrane-Contactor System for Removing Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor from Air

Processes to remove and recover carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor from air are essential for successful long-duration space missions. This paper presents results of a developmental program focused on the use of a liquid- sorbent/membrane-contactor (LSMC) system for removal of CO2 and water vapor from air. In this system, air from the spacecraft cabin atmosphere is circulated through one side of a hollow-fiber membrane contactor. On the other side of the membrane contactor is flowed a liquid sorbent, which absorbs the CO2 and water vapor from the feed air. The liquid sorbent is then heated to desorb the CO2 and water vapor. The CO2 is subsequently removed from the system as a concentrated gas stream, whereas the water vapor is condensed, producing a water stream. A breadboard system based on this technology was designed and constructed. Tests showed that the LSMC breadboard system can produce a CO2 stream and a liquid- water stream.
Technical Paper

Biofilm Formation and Control in a Simulated Spacecraft Water System: Three Year Results

Two simulated spacecraft water systems are being used to evaluate the effectiveness of iodine for controlling microbial contamination within such systems. An iodine concentration of about 2.0 mg/L is maintained in one system by passing ultrapure water through an iodinated ion exchange resin. Stainless steel coupons with electropolished and mechanically-polished sides are being used to monitor biofilm formation. Results after three years of operation show a single episode of significant bacterial growth in the iodinated system when the iodine level dropped to 1.9 mg/L. This growth was apparently controlled by replacing the iodinated ion exchange resin, thereby increasing the iodine level. The second batch of resin has remained effective in controlling microbial growth down to an iodine level of 1.0 mg/L. Scanning electron microscopy indicates that the iodine has impeded but may have not completely eliminated the formation of biofilm.
Technical Paper

Modeling of Membrane Processes for Air Revitalization and Water Recovery

Gas-separation and reverse-osmosis membrane models are being developed in conjunction with membrane testing at NASA JSC. The completed gas-separation membrane model extracts effective component permeabilities from multicomponent test data, and predicts the effects of flow configuration, operating conditions, and membrane dimensions on module performance. Variable feed- and permeate-side pressures are considered. The model has been applied to test data for hollow-fiber membrane modules with simulated cabin-air feeds. Results are presented for a membrane designed for air drying applications. Extracted permeabilities are used to predict the effect of operating conditions on water enrichment in the permeate. A first-order reverse-osmosis model has been applied to test data for spiral wound membrane modules with a simulated hygiene water feed. The model estimates an effective local component rejection coefficient under pseudo-steady-state conditions.
Technical Paper

Design of a Water Electrolysis Flight Experiment

Supply of oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2) by electrolyzing water in space will play an important role in meeting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) needs and goals for future space missions. Both O2 and H2 are envisioned to be used in a variety of processes including crew life support, spacecraft propulsion, extravehicular activity, electrical power generation/storage as well as in scientific experiment and manufacturing processes. Life Systems, Inc., in conjunction with NASA, has been developing an alkaline-based Static Feed Electrolyzer (SFE). During the development of the water electrolysis technology over the past 23 years, an extensive engineering and scientific data base has been assembled.
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

Integrated Atmosphere Revitalization System Description and Test Results

Regenerative-type subsystems are being tested at JSC to provide atmosphere revitalization functions of oxygen supply and carbon dioxide (CO2) removal for a future Space Station. Oxygen is supplied by an electrolysis subsystem, developed by General Electric, Wilmington, Mass., which uses the product water from either the CO2 reduction subsystem or a water reclamation process. CO2 is removed and concentrated by an electrochemical process, developed by Life Systems, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. The concentrated CO2 is reduced in a Sabatier process with the hydrogen from the electrolysis process to water and methane. This subsystem is developed by Hamilton Standard, Windsor Locks, Conn. These subsystems are being integrated into an atmosphere revitalization group. This paper describes the integrated test configuration and the initial checkout test. The feasibility and design compatibility of these subsystems integrated into an air revitalization system is discussed.
Technical Paper

An Advanced Carbon Reactor Subsystem for Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Reduction of metabolic carbon dioxide is one of the essential steps in physiochemical air revitalization for long-duration manned space missions. Under contract with NASA Johnson Space Center, Hamilton Standard is developing an Advanced Carbon Reactor Subsystem (ACRS) to produce water and dense solid carbon from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The ACRS essentially consists of a Sabatier Methanation Reactor (SMR) to reduce carbon dioxide with hydrogen to methane and water, a gas-liquid separator to remove product water from the methane, and a Carbon Formation Reactor (CFR) to pyrolyze methane to carbon and hydrogen. The hydrogen is recycled to the SMR, while the produce carbon is periodically removed from the CFR. The SMR is well-developed, while the CFR is under development. In this paper, the fundamentals of the SMR and CFR processes are presented and results of Breadboard CFR testing are reported.
Technical Paper

First Human Testing of the Orion Atmosphere Revitalization Technology

A system of amine-based carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor sorbent in pressure-swing regenerable beds has been developed by Hamilton Sundstrand and is baselined for the Orion Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS). In two previous years at this conference, reports were presented on extensive Johnson Space Center (JSC) testing of the technology, which was performed in a representative environment with simulated human metabolic loads. The next step in developmental testing at JSC was to use real human loads in the spring of 2008.
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.