Published On: Sat, Feb 18th, 2017

NASA Announces Awards to Develop Oxygen Recovery Technologies for Future Deep Space Missions

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NASA has selected two proposals for the development of oxygen recovery technologies that could help astronauts breathe a little easier on deep space, long-duration missions. The agency will invest as much as $2 million and 24 months for the development of each proposal into a complete and integrated system for NASA testing.

“The development of advanced life support technologies will allow NASA to establish improved capabilities for future deep space, long-duration, human exploration missions,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington. “The selected proposals represent the best value to the agency and strong investments for STMD.”

The selected proposals are:

Phase II Methane Pyrolysis System for High-Yield Soot-Free Recovery of Oxygen from Carbon Dioxide – Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix
Continuous Bosch Reactor – UMPQUA Research Co. in Myrtle Creek, Oregon

The state-of-the-art system currently used on the International Space Station recovers about 50 percent of the oxygen from exhaled carbon dioxide. The remaining oxygen required for crew respiration is transported to the station from Earth. For long-duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit, resupply of oxygen becomes economically and logistically prohibitive. To mitigate these challenges, NASA’s Next Generation Life Support Spacecraft Oxygen Recovery project element is targeting development of technology to increase the recovery of oxygen to 75 percent or more, thereby reducing the total oxygen resupply required for future missions.

These awards are managed by the Game Changing Development (GCD) program within STMD. NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, manages the GCD program. The GCD program is funded by STMD, which is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

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