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- The Sabatier Carbon Dioxide Reduction System (CRA) offers water recovery on a long duration space mission to reduce water resupply. Currently, NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Inc. (HSSSI), and Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) are working together to develop a Sabatier CRA for the International Space Station (ISS). This effort is being funded by the Office of Biological and Physical Research (Code U)/Advanced Life Support program which is administered by NASA JSC. The Sabatier CRA is the next step in closing the oxygen life support loop on future space missions. The Sabatier reaction combines the waste carbon dioxide (recovered from crew metabolism) with waste hydrogen (a byproduct of electrolysis to produce oxygen) to produce water and methane (CH4). On ISS, the methane would be vented overboard, however the methane can be utilized for propulsion during a planetary exploration mission. Based on a crew size of 7-equivalent people, the Sabatier CRA can produce as much a 2000 lb/year water. Use of the Sabatier CRA will significantly reduce the amount of water that needs to be resupplied to the ISS on a yearly basis, at a tremendous cost saving to the program. Additionally, by recycling this additional water, the Sabatier CRA enables additional launch capacity for science experiments to be brought up to the ISS. The NASA/Industry team noted above has been working to reduce technical risks associated with the Sabatier CRA system. To date the technical risks have been considerably reduced, bringing the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from TRL 4 to TRL 5/6. In doing so, the team has developed the system schematic, system models, control scheme, produced engineering development unit (EDU) hardware, performed limited integration testing of the EDU's and verified system modeling through testing. Additionally, the system schematic has been evaluated for failure modes and hazards and had a successful technical review by the NASA Safety Board. The current focus is now related to development of the water/methane phase separator, liquid sensor and CO2 compressor piston seal life. The overall goal of the current effort is to bring the system up to a TRL6 by the end of GFY04. Although the Sabatier CRA is not currently baselined for use on the ISS, its benefits are significant enough such that volume within the Oxygen Generation System rack has been reserved for future installation. The value of the water the CRA recover will allow NASA the additional crew time and payload needed to pursue its mission of scientific research.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20100033195.
Habitation 2004; 4-7 Jan. 2004; Orlando, FL; United States.
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