Fact sheet number: FS-1999-05-65-MSFC|
Release date: 1999
Volatile Removal Assembly Flight Experiment is loaded into the Spacehab at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.(NASA)
Water -- a basic necessity for life -- will be provided for the crew aboard the International Space Station through a unique system developed and tested by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
All water on the U.S. portion of the International Space Station will be recycled by a water treatment system which includes a device called a Volatile Removal Assembly, a product of the Marshall Center. A pre-space station version of the device is being flown on the STS-96 Space Shuttle mission.
- The Volatile Removal Assembly flight experiment is being flown on the STS-96 mission to assess the assembly's performance in the near-weightless environment of space.
- The assembly, an end-processor for wastewater, will remove impurities -- such as lightweight, organic material and microorganisms.
- The flight experiment will help researchers predict how water and gaseous oxygen will interact in a packed bed reactor -- a tube filled with catalyst particles -- without the influences of gravity.
- The experiment weighs about 325 pounds and will occupy about one-half of a Spacehab rack, which is about 34 inches wide, 70 inches tall and 30 inches deep.
- The experiment will be conducted using a diluted solution of ethanol -- a typical contaminant in wastewater from the water treatment system's ground experiments.
- Over the course of the experiment, approximately 60 gallons of water will be processed.
- STS-96 crew members assigned to Volatile Removal Assembly flight experiment are Mission Specialist Ellen Ochoa and Commander Kent Rominger. In addition to activating and deactivating the experiment, Ochoa and Rominger will periodically collect water samples to be analyzed on the ground after the mission. Results from the analyses will be used to assess how well the Volatile Removal Assembly performed in space.
- On the Space Station, the Volatile Removal Assembly will recover potable water, or drinking water, from wastewater. The water aboard the station will be recycled, including humidity from respiration, perspiration and microwave use; waste water from showers, hand washes, shaves and toothbrushes; and urine.
- The Volatile Removal Assembly is capable of processing approximately 5,667 gallons of water per year.
- Marshall Center is responsible for the Volatile Removal Assembly environmental, acceptance and performance testing as well as crew training and mission operations support.
- The water recovery system is one of seven systems which will work together aboard the International Space Station as its Environmental Control and Life Support System.
The assembly was built by Hamilton Standard Space Systems International in Hartford, Conn., for the Marshall Center.