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January 20, 1997

Ed Campion
Johnson Space Center
(281) 483-5111

Release: J97-001

Team Begins Test of Advanced Life Support System

A four-person team is once again living in a special air-tight chamber at the Johnson Space Center testing recyclable life support systems which will be used for future space ventures.

The Phase IIA - International Space Station Life Support Test is the third in a series being conducted at JSC that uses physicochemical and biological methods to recycle air and water. The four-person volunteer crew entered the three-story 20-foot diameter chamber on January 13 to spend up to 60 days investigating the use of mechanical and chemical means to recycle all air and water, including urine, for the volunteers. These physicochemical air and water processors are the same types that will be used on board the International Space Station.

The test crew members are Crew Leader Terry Tri (35, JSC Project Manager, Bioregenerative Life Support Systems Complex ); Karen Meyers (33, Lockheed Martin Project Engineer); Fred Smith (31, JSC Systems Engineer); and Dave Staat (26, Lockheed Martin Facilities Project Engineer). They plan to remain in the chamber until mid-March to evaluate the effectiveness of the International Space Station regenerative life support systems.

Regenerative life support is critical technology not only for the International Space Station but for the future of humans in space as astronauts will not be able to carry all of the supplies necessary to support a trip to Mars or the Moon. The current test continues the investigations begun on two previous tests conducted in August 1995 and June 1996.

In the first test, one volunteer spent two weeks in a smaller chamber using a crop of wheat plants to recycle available breathing air. That test was followed by a 30-day test in 1996

with four volunteers in the 20-foot chamber evaluating the effectiveness of advanced mechanical and chemical systems to recycle their air and water.

The current test employs mechanical and chemical systems which are functionally the same as those which will be used on board the International Space Station to purify the team’s air and water supplies. The team members provide daily status reports on the operation of the air revitalization and water recovery systems, as well as crew habitability criteria. The team is also supporting evaluation of other International Space Station planned activities including medical, food systems, and specialized shifts for staffing monitoring consoles in the control room.

A press conference with the Advanced Life Support management team and test chamber crew will be scheduled for the first week of February. A tour of the Advanced Life Support Program facilities will be conducted immediately after the press conference for attending media.

 

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