Generation 2 Heat Melt Compactor Development
Turner, Mark F.
Fisher, John W.
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NASA has been developing a waste management device for human space exploration missions called the Heat Melt Compactor (HMC) as part of the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Human Spaceflight Logistics Reduction and Repurposing (LRR) project. Human space missions typically generate trash with a quantity of plastic that is twenty percent or greater by mass. The plastic rich trash contains valuable water entrained in food residue and sanitary wipes blended with paper, duct tape, rubber gloves, and other sundry trash items. The Heat Melt Compactor was designed to provide high trash volume reduction, microbial stabilization, and resource recovery including water and potentially radiation shielding material from the trash. The Heat Melt Compactor dries, compresses, and encapsulates the waste inside the plastic producing a tile that has the consistency of hard plastic. This paper provides an overview of the engineering efforts associated with development of a second generation HMC. The Gen 2 HMC is a ground based prototype unit that has been designed to function within the physical and environmental constraints of an International Space Station (ISS) Express Rack and serves as a precursor to developing proto-flight hardware.