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Technical Paper

Characterization of the Three Phase Catalytic Wet Oxidation Process in the International Space Station (ISS) Water Processor Assembly

A three phase catalytic mathematical model was developed for analysis and optimization of the volatile reactor assembly (VRA) used on International Space Station (ISS) Water Processor. The Langmuir-Hinshelwood Hougen-Watson (L-H) expression was used to describe the surface reaction rate. Small column experiments were used to determine the L-H rate parameters. The test components used in the experiments were acetic acid, acetone, ethanol, 1-propanol, 2-propanol and propionic acid. These compounds are the most prevalent ones found in the influent to the VRA reactor. The VRA model was able to predict performance of small column data and experimental data from the VRA flight experiment.
Technical Paper

Assessment of the Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) Technology at the MSFC ECLS Test Facility

The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) technology has been previously discussed as a viable option for the Exploration Water Recovery System. This technology integrates a phase change process with catalytic oxidation in the vapor phase to produce potable water from exploration mission wastewaters. A developmental prototype VPCAR was designed, built and tested under funding provided by a National Research Announcement (NRA) project. The core technology, a Wiped Film Rotating Device (WFRD) was provided by Water Reuse Technologies under the NRA, whereas Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International performed the hardware integration and acceptance test of the system. Personnel at the Ames Research Center performed initial systems test of the VPCAR using ersatz solutions. To assess the viability of this hardware for Exploration Life Support (ELS) applications, the hardware has been modified and tested at the MSFC ECLS Test Facility.
Technical Paper

The Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project Phase III 90-day Test: The Crew Perspective

The Lunar-Mars Life Support Test Project (LMLSTP) Phase III test examined the use of biological and physicochemical life support technologies for the recovery of potable water from waste water, the regeneration of breathable air, and the maintenance of a shirt-sleeve environment for a crew of four persons for 91 days. This represents the longest duration ground-test of life support systems with humans performed in the United States. This paper will describe the test from the inside viewpoint, concentrating on three major areas: maintenance and repair of life support elements, the scientific projects performed primarily in support of the International Space Station, and numerous activities in the areas of public affairs and education outreach.
Technical Paper

Mir Leak Detection Using Fluorescent Tracer Gases

On June 25, 1997 a docking mishap of a Progress supply ship caused the Progress vehicle to crash into an array of solar panels and puncture the hull of the Spektr module. The puncture was small enough to allow the crew to seal off the Spektr module and repressurize the rest of the station. The Progress vehicle struck the Spektr module several times and the exact location, size, and number of punctures in the Spektr hull was unknown. Russian cosmonauts donned space suits and went inside the Spektr module to repair some electrical power cables and look for the location of the hull breach, they could not identify the exact location of the hole (or holes). The Spektr module was pressurized with Mir cabin air twice during the STS-86 fly around in an attempt to detect leakage (in the form of ice particles) from the module. Seven particles were observed within a 36 second time span, but tracking the path of the individual particles did not pinpoint a specific leak location.
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

Phase III Integrated Water Recovery Testing at MSFC: International Space Station Recipient Mode Test Results and Lessons Learned

A test has been completed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to evaluate the Water Recovery and Management (WRM) system and Waste Management (WM) urinal design for the United States On-Orbit Segment (USOS) of the International Space Station (ISS). Potable and urine reclamation processors were integrated with waste water generation equipment and successfully operated for a total of 128 days in recipient mode configuration to evaluate the accumulation of contaminants in the water system and to assess the performance of various modifications to the WRM and WM hardware. No accumulation of contaminants were detected in the product water over the course of the recipient mode test. An additional 18 days were conducted in donor mode to assess the ability of the system to removal viral contaminants, to monitor the breakthrough of organic contaminants through the multifiltration bed, and for resolving anomalies that occurred during the test.
Technical Paper

Solid Polymer Electrolyte Oxygen Generator Assembly Life Testing at MSFC - The First Year

A two year test program has been initiated to evaluate the effects of extended duration operation on a solid polymer electrolyte Oxygen Generator Assembly (OGA); in particular the cell stack and membrane phase separators. As part of this test program, the OGA was integrated into the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Water Recovery Test (WRT) Stage 10, a six month test, to use reclaimed water directly from the water processor product water storage tanks. This paper will document results encountered and evaluated thus far in the life testing program.
Technical Paper

Diode-Laser Spectral Absorption-Based Gas Species Sensor for Life Support Applications

We present the development of a semiconductor diode laser spectral absorption based gas species sensor for oxygen concentration measurements, intended for life support system monitoring and control applications. Employing a novel self-compensating, noise cancellation detection approach, we experimentally demonstrate better than 1% accuracy, linearity, and stability for monitoring breathing air conditions with 0.2 second response time. We also discuss applications of this approach to CO2 sensing.
Technical Paper

A Thermal Control System Dual-Membrane Gas Trap for the International Space Station

The dual membrane gas trap filter is utilized in the internal thermal control system (ITCS) as part of the pump package assembly to remove non-condensed gases from the ITCS coolant. This improves pump performance and prevents pump cavitation. The gas trap also provides the capability to vent air that is Ingested into the ITCS during routine maintenance and replacement of the International Space Station (ISS) system orbital replacement units. The gas trap is composed of two types of membranes that are formed into a cylindrical module and then encased within a titanium housing. The non-condensed gas that is captured is then allowed to escape through a vent tube in the gas trap housing.
Technical Paper

Performance Qualification Test of the ISS Water Processor Assembly (WPA) Expendables

The Water Processor Assembly (WPA) for use on the International Space Station (ISS) includes various technologies for the treatment of waste water. These technologies include filtration, ion exchange, adsorption, catalytic oxidation, and iodination. The WPA hardware implementing portions of these technologies, including the Particulate Filter, Multifiltration Bed, Ion Exchange Bed, and Microbial Check Valve, was recently qualified for chemical performance at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Waste water representing the quality of that produced on the ISS was generated by test subjects and processed by the WPA. Water quality analysis and instrumentation data was acquired throughout the test to monitor hardware performance. This paper documents operation of the test and the assessment of the hardware performance.
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

Aquatic Biofilms and Their Responses to Disinfection and Invading Species

A primary concern in creating a water reclamation system for long-duration manned space flight is the control of microbial contamination which can jeopardize water quality, compromise human health, and degrade constituent materials of the system. The microbial ecology facility in the Analytical and Physical Chemistry Branch of the Materials and Processes Laboratory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is addressing this concern by means of experiments investigating the interaction of bacterial species in the development of a biofilm and their response to the introduction of additional species or to disinfection. Both static and recycling water systems are used. In static experiments, varied sequence and timing of species introduction in binary bacterial biofilms on 316L stainless steel elucidate the mechanisms involved in biofilm formation.
Technical Paper

Phase III Integrated Water Recovery Testing at MSFC: Closed Hygiene and Potable Loop Test Results and Lesson Learned

A series of tests has been conducted at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to evaluate the performance of a Space Station Freedom (SSF) pre-development water recovery system. Potable, hygiene, and urine reclamation subsystems were integrated with end-use equipment items and successfully operated for a total of 35 days, including 23 days in closed-loop mode with man-in-the-loop. Although several significant subsystem physical anomalies were encountered, reclaimed potable and hygiene water routinely met current SSF water quality specifications. This paper summarizes the test objectives, system design, test activities/protocols, significant results/anomalies, and major lessons learned.
Technical Paper

Computer Modeling and Experimental Investigations of a Regenerative Life Support Waste Water Bioreactor

Computer models are currently being developed by NASA and major aerospace companies to characterize regenerative life support waste water reclamation bioreactors. Detailed models increase understanding of complex processes within the bioreactors and predict performance capabilities over a wide range of operating parameters. Bench-top scale bioreactors are contributing to the development and validation of these models. The purpose of the detailed bioreactor model is to simulate the complex water purification processes as accurately as possible by minimizing the use of simplifying assumptions and empirical relationships. Fundamental equations of mass transport and microbial kinetics were implemented in a finite-difference model structure to maximize accuracy and adaptability to various bioreactor configurations. The model development is based upon concepts and data from the available literature and data from the bench top bioreactor investigations.
Technical Paper

Advances in Development of Bioreactor Technology for a Regenerative Life Support Primary Water Processor

Bioreactor technology is currently being developed by a team of NASA and major aerospace companies to provide capabilities for water reclamation within a Regenerative Life Support System (RLSS). An integrated approach is being used for this development process consisting of fundamental laboratory studies, full-scale experimental studies and mathematical modeling. The laboratory studies are focused on a series of identical bioreactors which are being used to develop an understanding of the kinetics, growth characteristics, and viability of the microbial population in the reactors through variation of key parameters. These studies have provided insight into system control issues, development of advanced reactor design concepts, and establishment of key parameter values for the mathematical modeling effort. The full-scale experimental studies are being used to develop a complete water reclamation system founded on a biologically-based primary water processor.
Technical Paper

The Interaction of Spacecraft Cabin Atmospheric Quality and Water Processing System Performance

Although designed to remove organic contaminants from a variety of wastewater streams, the planned U.S. and present Russian-provided water processing systems on board the International Space Station (ISS) have capacity limits for some of the more common volatile cleaning solvents used for housekeeping purposes. Using large quantities of volatile cleaning solvents during the ground processing and in-flight operational phases of a crewed spacecraft such as the ISS can lead to significant challenges to the water processing systems. To understand the challenges facing the management of water processing capacity, the relationship between cabin atmospheric quality and humidity condensate loading is presented. This relationship is developed as a tool to determine the cabin atmospheric loading that may compromise water processing system performance.
Technical Paper

Advancements in Regenerative Life Support Waste Water Bioprocessing Technology

Bioreactor technology for waste water reclamation in a regenerative life support system (RLSS) is currently being developed by a team of NASA and major aerospace companies. To advance this technology, several activities are being performed concurrently; these include conducting small-scale studies and developing computer models. Small-scale studies are being performed to characterize and enhance the bioprocesses occurring within the bioreactor. New bioreactor configurations have been investigated which improved total organic carbon degradation as well as nitrification, the polishing step which converts nitrogenous wastes into forms that are easily removable from the water. Small-scale studies have also been performed using an activated sludge reactor demonstrating that TOC reduction and nitrification can occur in a single reactor. Computer models have been developed to guide the laboratory studies and to assist in full-scale system design.
Technical Paper

Performance Testing of a New Membrane Evaporator for the Thermoelectric Integrated Membrane Evaporator System (TIMES) Water Processor

The TIMES system was evaluated to determine its ability to process reverse osmosis (RO) brine as one of the Advanced Water Processor steps. Since preliminary testing performed in 1998 showed that the membrane typically used in the process (Nafion 117) offered a very poor ammonia rejection, a search for an alternate membrane exhibiting high ammonia rejection capability was initiated under NASA-JSC funding. This investigation has resulted in the selection of a PolyVinylAlcohol (PVA) composite membrane as a replacement. When processing RO brine and untreated human urine as feeds, the Pervap 2201 membrane showed a 96% ammonia rejection over a large range of ammonia concentration. The water permeation rates in both laboratory-scale and pilot scale testings were also similar to the Nafion. The water permeance of the Pervap 2201 was approximately 7.5 kg/h/m2/atm (1.1 lb/h/m2/psi).
Technical Paper

Phase III Integrated Water Recovery Testing at MSFC: Single Loop Test Results and Lessons Learned

A series of tests has been conducted at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to evaluate the performance of the Space Station Freedom (SSF) water recovery system. Potable and urine reclamation processors were integrated with waste water generation equipment and successfully operated for a total of 144 days. This testing marked the first occasion in which the waste feed sources for previous potable and hygiene loops were combined into a single loop and processed to potable water quality. Reclaimed potable water from the combined waste waters routinely met the SSF water quality specifications. In the last stage of this testing, data was obtained that indicated that the Water Processor (WP) presterilizer may not be required to meet the potable water quality specification.