by Prof. Leonid BOBE, Dr. Sc. (Tech.), head of the Water Recovery Space Systems Laboratory of the Research and Design Institute of Chemical Engineering (NIICHIMMASH); Lev GAVRILOV, Cand. Sc. (Tech.), Deputy Chief Designer of air regeneration space systems at the same institute; Alexei KOCHETKOV, Chief Designer of life support systems at the same institute; Alexander ZHELEZNYAKOV, head of the space life support division of the Korolev RSC "Energia"
Longtime orbital and, in prospect, interplanetary space missions largely depend on upgraded life support systems designed to cater to the needs of crews in water and oxygen at minimum resupply. Achieving a maximum level of air and water recovery within an orbiter's limited space posed hard science and engineering problems. Our scientists, engineers and designers have coped with their job by building the life support systems (LSS) for the Salyut-4, -6, -7 and the "MIR" orbital space stations and the International Space Station (ISS) now in orbit.
An astronaut's water and oxygen balance.
The orbiting of the world's first artificial satellite of the earth (SPUTNIK) in USSR (Russia) on October 4, 1957, and Yuri Gagarin's pioneering flight on April 12, 1961, ushered in a space exploration era. Great headway has been made since then in space engineering, flight duration and in the makeup of crews. There are higher demands on life support systems as well. An astronaut consumes as much as 4 to 12 tons of water, oxygen and food a year. Putting this amount of supplies into orbit is costly (about 22,000 US dollars per kg). Hence there should be an ecological cycle of water and oxygen turnover, and air regeneration systems on board. Under natural conditions these processes occur but slowly and are not limited all to much in volume. The situation is quite different in space conditions. High-intensity, low-energy consumption as well as waste-free processes controlled, both physically and chemi ... Читать далее