Main Engine Cut Off

ESA’s Advanced Closed Loop System on ISS

HTV-7 arrived this morning, carrying with it a hugely-under-appreciated piece of hardware:

The 10-tonne spacecraft is carrying ESA’s new Advanced Closed Loop System that will recycle carbon dioxide on the Space Station into oxygen. Currently oxygen on the Space Station is extracted from water that has to be brought from Earth, a costly and limiting drawback. The new system promises to recycle half of the carbon dioxide thereby saving about 400 l of water sent to the Space Station each year.

The facility is a Space Station-standard 2-m tall rack that will be installed by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in the US Destiny laboratory by November this year. Although the system is made to demonstrate the new technology, it will be part of the Space Station’s life support system and produce oxygen for three astronauts.