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Toxicology Analysis of Spacecraft Air


SpaceX Crew-1 uses a GSC en route to the ISS
SpaceX Crew-1 Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialist Shannon Walker work with a Grab Sample Container (GSC) in the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft while en route to the ISS.

Toxicology and Environmental Chemistry (TEC) monitors airborne contaminants in both spacecraft air and water. In-flight monitors are employed to provide real-time insight into the environmental conditions on ISS. Archival samples are collected and returned to Earth for full characterization of ISS air and water.

Real-time in-flight air analytical instruments include the Air Quality Monitors (AQM), carbon dioxide (CO2 monitors), and a compound specific analyzer for combustion products (CSA-CP). Real-time in-flight water monitoring capabilities include the colorimetric water quality monitoring kit (CWQMK) and the ISS total organic carbon analyzer (TOCA).

Post-flight analyses are performed on archival samples of spacecraft air and water obtained at specific times and locations during a mission. Air archival samples are collected using “grab sample containers” (GSC) and formaldehyde badges. The U.S. and Russian water recovery systems on the ISS process atmospheric moisture (U.S. and Russian systems) and urine distillate (U.S. system only) into clean, potable water for the crew to use.  The Water Kit is utilized to collect archival samples of the potable water and are routinely returned to the ground to monitor the quality of the water produced by the systems.  Samples of condensate and wastewater are also collected and returned to check for the presence of contaminants that could break through the water recovery systems.   

Results of Post-Flight Analysis of In-Flight Air Samples  (Most Recent First)




Last Updated
Jul 17, 2024
Robert E. Lewis
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