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General Inquiry: Associate Director, Engineering Directorate
Phone: 281.483.8991

Mailing Address:
National Aeronautics & Space Administration
Johnson Space Center
Mail Code: EA
2101 NASA Parkway
Houston, Texas 77058

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Test Facilities Guide

Engineering Test Facilities Guide

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Advanced Water Recovery Systems

    Advanced Water Recovery SystemsPhoto credit: NASA

    Johnson Space Center’s Advanced Water Recovery Systems Development Facility (AWRSDF) and Water Analysis Laboratory are separate but complementary facilities that support the development and testing of water recovery systems.

    The AWRSDF provides a test area for all facets of spacecraft water recovery systems, including wastewater pretreatment, primary processor technologies, brine water recovery, post-processors, water filtration, and personal hygiene studies. Included in the AWRSDF is a Biosafety Level 2 microbiology laboratory, where advanced potable water disinfection technologies are tested. Additionally, the AWRSDF is home to the Wastewater Collection and Transportation System (WWCTS), where prospective crew cleanser products (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) are used by test donors to produce simulated spacecraft wastewater.

    The Water Analysis Laboratory provides analytical capabilities in support of advanced water recovery systems. The laboratory is also flight certified and has supported a number of flight hardware activities. Analysis capabilities of the Water Analysis Laboratory include:

    • pH and conductivity
    • Total organic carbon and total inorganic carbon
    • Total nitrogen, iodine (molecular and ionic), chlorine, phosphates, ammonium, and many other ions
    • Turbidity
    • Surface tension
    • Total solids, dissolved solids, and suspended solids
    • Dissolved oxygen and chemical oxygen demand
    • Absolute color
    • Alkalinity
    • Metals

    Additionally, the Water Analysis Laboratory maintains an inventory of chemicals and can provide preparation of virtually any chemical solution. Typical solutions are iodine disinfection solutions for flight and ersatz waste stream solutions in support of advanced water recovery systems hardware testing.

    Benefits of the AWRSDF and Water Analysis Laboratory:

    • Technical leadership in spacecraft water recovery systems.
    • Versatile support of testing, analysis, and development of any water system (flight or technology-related).
    • Wide-ranging knowledge of hardware, chemistry, microbiology, and laboratory processes.
    • Dedicated and maintained facilities for microbiology, wastewater collection, testing, and analysis.
    • Quick-turnaround analyses and solution preparation for flight hardware needs.
    • Historic multi-program support, including Shuttle, ISS, Constellation, and Exploration Life Support.
    • Experience with industry through grants and SBIRs.
    • Flexibility in accommodating projects and hardware across the spectrum of Technology Readiness Levels.

    Advanced Water Recovery Systems Development Facility and Water Analysis Laboratory

    Overall Capabilities
          • Central hardware test area
          • Microbiology BSL-2 laboratory
          • Wastewater Collection and Transportation System
    Water Analysis Laboratory
          • Chemical analysis of water samples
          • Preparation of chemical solutions
    Analytical Specifications:
    • 1-100 mg/L measurement of total organic and inorganic carbon, nitrogen
    • 0.5-10 mg/L measurement of total organic and inorganic carbon
    • pH (0-14), conductivity (0.5 microSiemens-12.9 milliSiemens), dissolved oxygen (0-20%) via dedicated probes
    • 0.2 – 100000 NTU turbidity
    • 0-10000 mg/L chemical oxygen demand, 0.010-1.3 mg/L phosphate, 0-10 mg/L iodine (molecular and ionic), 0.010-4 mg/l chlorine, 0-25 mg/L ammonium 1 - 1000 mN/m surface tension, determination of critical micelle concentration via surface tension titration
    • 3 – 10 mg/L I 2 via iodine titration
    • 0 – 10% active oxygen (percent oxygen titration of Oxone)
    • 0 – 200 mg per volume sample total solids, dissolved solids, and suspended solids
    • 0 – 500 color units absolute color
    • 25 – 500 meq/L CaCO 3 for alkalinity
    • 0.1-10ppm ions
    • 100 – 10000 µg/L metals
    • 0 - 10 mg/L atrazine and furfuryl alcohol
    • Particle imaging
    • Ultrapure Water System
    Wastewater Collection and Transportation System Specifications:
    • Accepts laundry, urinal, shower, and hand wash (sink) donations
    • Total mass of donations is recorded as well as number of donations
    • Simultaneously collect two different wastewater loads into independent tanks
    • Allow for stand-alone collection of a donation for use in small scale testing
    • Automatic calculation of additions requirement to complete 24hr period wastewater load
    • Inline filters, minimal valving, and sufficient slope to reduce standing water in the plumbing lines
    • Common collection tank that is continually flushed for shower, urinal, and sink
    • Lockers for donor clothing and personal items
    Microbiology Laboratory Specifications:
    • Biosafety Level 2 laboratory
    • Two low-temperature incubators, one high-temperature (37°C) incubator, and one shaker/incubator
    • One small autoclave and one large autoclave
    • Autoplater and electronic counter
    • Centrifuge
    • Laminar flow hood
    • Biosafety bench
    • Ultrapure Water System
    AWRSDF Test Area Specifications:
    • -30°C and -80°C refrigerators
    • Light and dissection microscopes
    • Flow bench and numerous test benches
    • Rotary evaporator
    • Freeze dryer
    • LabWare washer
    Other Available Hardware:
    • Numerous pumps, valves, tubing, flex hoses, fittings
    • Extensive mechanical tools for hardware modifications
    • Numerous electrical outlets
    • Spill containment hardware
    • Test tubes, beakers, vials, and other laboratory glassware
    • Facility gas supply (nitrogen, oxygen)

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