Life Support Systems
Section 4.3.5.
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Water Filtering Press Release

This NASA press release details a very important technology for the long-term development of the moon. Water constitutes most of the mass of consumables, so it's very important to us to have an efficient system for filtering and cleaning water. If there is a good way to reuse the water, we can significantly reduce our requirements for consumables.

 Mark Hess
 Headquarters, Washington, DC            May 3, 1995
 (Phone:  202/358-1778)

 Steve Roy
 Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
 (Phone:  205/544-6535)

 RELEASE: 95-61


     The international Space Station's water purification
 system has passed a series of tests designed to evaluate
 new components and configurations of the Water Recovery
 System and to challenge the system's capability to remove
 bacteria, fungi and for the first time, live viruses.

     The test series, begun in August 1994 at NASA's
 Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, characterized
 the physical, chemical and microbiological composition of
 the Space Station's expected waste water (shower water,
 oral hygiene, urine distillate, wet shave, human
 perspiration). The tests produced recycled water using new
 performance procedures and hardware dictated by changes in
 Space Station requirements and lessons learned during
 earlier water system testing.

     The tests featured the first use of a new fully-
 integrated water processor which automatically tested for
 the presence of chemical substances, such as organic
 carbons, iodine and overall water purity. Also, special
 computer software was developed for automated control very
 similar to that planned for use on the Space Station.

     "This test allowed design engineers to assess the water
 purification system under the operating conditions that
 would be expected on the international Space Station,"
 explained Don Holder, life support design engineer in
 Marshall's Thermal Control and Life Support Systems
 Division and principal investigator for the test. "Overall,
 the system was very effective in producing high quality
 potable water from waste water," said Holder.

     "The purification equipment effectively removed high
 concentrations of microbes in the waste water and provided
 water with little detectable bacteria and fungi," explained
 Monsi Roman, life support system microbiologist. "The test
 series was very challenging, and we are very pleased with
 the excellent results and overall efficiency of the

     The final phase of the water purification tests
 included, for the first time, an assessment of the system's
 capability to eliminate viral particles. During the five-
 day viral test, high concentrations of viruses were
 steadily introduced in the system. While special filters
 are used to remove larger contaminants such as skin
 particles and hair fragments, the smaller viral organisms,
 along with fungi and bacteria, were destroyed by exposure
 to the purification system's synthetic cleaning resins and
 high temperature processor. Throughout the viral test,
 water samples were collected in order to study the
 effectiveness of each element of the system and evaluate
 its role in viral removal.

     The viruses selected for the test, MS2, T-1, VD13 and
 23356-B1 can only infect specific bacteria. These viruses
 are common and non-pathogenic for humans. MS2 is
 frequently used by the Environmental Protection Agency as
 an indicator for determining the viral effectiveness of
 drinking water disinfection processes.

     "The viral removal capability of the water recycling
 system appears excellent based upon our preliminary test
 results," said Christon Hurst, a virologist of the
 Environmental Protection Agency's Drinking Water Research
 Division in Cincinnati, OH. Hurst provided on-site support
 to the viral tests series and supervised post-test
 evaluation of the data.

     Additional testing of the water purification system is
 planned to determine the actual lifespan of some system
 hardware, such as filters. The water processor is
 scheduled to be launched in the U.S. habitation module in

     Marshall is conducting a variety of water purification
 tests in support of the Space Station Program Office.


Life Support Systems

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