Quantitation of Trace Water in ISS Atmosphere Samples Recovered from CO2-Removal Systems



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


As crewed spaceflight continues to push the limits of exploration, instruments and hardware used to maintain and monitor crew and vehicle health must become more integrated, reliable, and efficient. By combining a carbon dioxide (CO2) removal system with a resource recovery system like a Sabatier or Bosch reactor, the waste gas from the removal system can be converted into valuable resources that help reduce reliance on ground resupply. Due to the high-pressure nature of the Sabatier and Bosch reactions, the vent gas from most CO2 removal systems will need to be compressed before it can be processed. In order to prevent condensation in the compressor of the recovery system, it is critical to ensure that the vent stream from the CO2 removal system does not contain an excess of water. There are currently three different CO2 removal systems that are being developed as candidates for exploration missions. Each of these systems will be evaluated as a technology demonstration on ISS, and vent gas samples will be collected in Summa sampling canisters fitted with Entech valves. Due to the need to measure low levels of water in these samples, it was not possible to use the current ISS miniature grab sample containers (GSCs) to collect these samples. The Summa containers, which were used to collect archive samples during Shuttle missions, have a different surface treatment that makes it possible to measure the low levels of water in samples collected in these containers.

This paper will provide some background on the CO2 removal systems being evaluated for exploration missions as well as results from ground-based testing of the current miniature GSCs and Summa canisters. Details on the development of the analytical method and the plan for preparing the canisters that will be used for in-flight sampling are also discussed.


Steven Beck, KBR, US
William King, KBR, US
Cristina Muko, KBR, US
Daniel Gazda, NASA, US
ICES504: Management of Air Quality in Sealed Environments
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


relative humidity, water, spaceflight, CO2 removal, quantitation, exploration, ground-based testing