Space

April 18, 2014

NASA astronauts will breathe easier with new oxygen recovery systems

ISS Air Revittilization System rack represents the state of the art in spacecraft oxygen recovery technology.

For NASA’s long-duration human spaceflight missions, travelers will need to recycle as much breathable oxygen in their spacecraft environments, as possible. To turn that need into a reality, NASA is seeking proposals for lightweight, safe, efficient and reliable systems for regenerating oxygen on future human exploration missions.

The first of two phases of this new NASA solicitation will consist of a detailed design, development, fabrication, and testing of an advanced oxygen recovery technology. Under a two year Phase II contract, the proposer then will develop a prototype hardware system, capable of an oxygen recovery rate of at least 75 percent.

“Lengthy spaceflight missions in Earth’s orbit and beyond must have life support systems that are more self-sufficient and reliable,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The spacecraft life support system technologies for this proposal must significantly improve the rate of oxygen recovery while achieving high degrees reliability. NASA and its partners will need to develop new technologies to ‘close’ the atmosphere revitalization loop.”

In addition to improving the oxygen recovery rate, the new systems must reduce mass required or take up less space and reduce power consumption. NASA’s goal is to award technology development efforts that will increase the oxygen recovery rate to at least 75 percent without adversely impacting other design requirements.

The agency’s Game Changing Development Program will accept proposals from NASA centers, other government agencies, federally funded research and development centers, educational institutions, industry and nonprofit organizations. NASA expects to make approximately six Phase I awards, ranging in value up to $750,000.

The Advanced Oxygen Recovery for Spacecraft Life Support Systems Appendix is part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate Game Changing Development Program NASA Research Announcement, “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2014″ for high priority technology areas of interest to NASA.

The SpaceTech-REDDI-2014 Advanced Oxygen Recovery for Spacecraft Life Support Systems Appendix is available through the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System website by going to “Solicitations” and then “Open Solicitations” at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/.

NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., manages the Game Changing Development Program for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate remains committed to developing the critical technologies required to enable future exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The directorate continues to solicit the help of the best and brightest minds in academia, industry, and government to drive innovation and enable solutions in a myriad of important technology thrust areas. These planned investments are addressing high priority challenges for achieving safe and affordable deep-space exploration.




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