System Will Produce 530 Gallons Per Year
NASA has announced the successful activation of new hardware
that will support water production services aboard the
International Space Station.
The Sabatier system can create up to 530 gallons of water per
year from byproducts of the station's Oxygen Generation System and
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly. The process is named for Paul
Sabatier, a 1912 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry.
"This is an important step forward in NASA's commercialization
endeavors and shows how successful private industry can be at
providing solutions on its own," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA
associate administrator for Space Operations at the agency's
Headquarters in Washington. "The ability to produce this water will
be important for sustaining space station operations once the
shuttle is retired."
The system was integrated into the space station's Water
Recovery System during the week of Oct. 11. Activation, checkout
and first use of the system were completed Oct. 22, running for
over eight hours.
The Sabatier process uses a nickel catalyst to interact with
hydrogen and carbon dioxide at elevated temperatures and pressures
to produce water and methane. The water is retained for recycling
processes, and the methane is vented outside of the space
Prior to adding the Sabatier system, hydrogen produced while
generating station oxygen was considered waste gas and vented
overboard. Carbon dioxide generated by crew metabolism also was
vented overboard. With the Sabatier system, these two former waste
gases will generate a valuable product for the space station:
Under contract to NASA, Hamilton Sundstrand supplied the flight
hardware and operational support for a Sabatier-reaction-based
system that operates as part of the station's Environmental Control
and Life Support System. This contract is unique because NASA did
not participate in design reviews or impose any specifications on
the design, except for those defined in the safety, interface and
acceptance requirements met by Hamilton Sundstrand.
The company developed, procured, and built the flight hardware
and support equipment needed for operations and training. The
in-orbit operational portion of the contract runs until Sept. 30,