NASA has selected two proposals for the development of oxygen recovery technologies that could help astronauts breathe a little easier on deep space, long-duration missions. The agency will invest as much as $2 million and 24 months for the development of each proposal into a complete and integrated system for NASA testing.
The selected proposals are:
- Phase II Methane Pyrolysis System for High-Yield Soot-Free Recovery of Oxygen from Carbon Dioxide – Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix
- Continuous Bosch Reactor – UMPQUA Research Co. in Myrtle Creek, Oregon
The state-of-the-art system currently used on the International Space Station recovers about 50 percent of the oxygen from exhaled carbon dioxide. The remaining oxygen required for crew respiration is transported to the station from Earth. For long-duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit, resupply of oxygen becomes economically and logistically prohibitive. To mitigate these challenges, NASA’s Next Generation Life Support Spacecraft Oxygen Recovery project element is targeting development of technology to increase the recovery of oxygen to 75 percent or more, thereby reducing the total oxygen resupply required for future missions.
Exactly the kinds of projects NASA should be putting attention towards. Help push the development of new and improved technologies that are critical to the missions we—collectively—are on the verge of undertaking. These are also the kinds of projects that show the value in having a testbed like the ISS active and nearby.
More of this, please!