Air Revitalization, an Inevitable Prerequisite for Future Affordable Crewed Missions to Space
The current ECLS baseline of the International Space Station ISS contains an open oxygen loop. Breathable oxygen, generated by electrolysis of water, is supplied to all habitable modules. The crew of max. 7 astronauts converts the oxygen into metabolic carbon dioxide, which needs to be removed from the ISS atmosphere. Adsorption of CO2 is achieved through molecular sieves, desorption of CO2 is conducted by evacuation into space. This open process needs approx. 1500 kg of water upload mass annually. More than 75 % of this upload mass can be saved, if the open oxygen loop will be closed. This paper outlines the closed loop air revitalization system of Astrium, ARES, which has been successfully tested in closed chamber tests. It demonstrates in detail the technical application of ARES on ISS and outlines the commercial benefits. The second part of the paper describes ARES for a Mars habitat with a closed oxygen and hydrogen loop.