Lessons Learned from the Integration of Biological Systems in Series for Wastewater Treatment on Early Planetary Bases



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


As humans begin to explore and build sustainable early planetary bases on the Moon and Mars, the crew will need environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) that are capable of recovering key biogenic elemental resources from waste streams for reuse. Resupply from Earth during these long-duration deep space missions is not feasible; therefore, the requirement for advanced technologies is paramount to the success of these missions. Under NASA�s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program the development of prototype bioreactors was established to help solve this resource recovery gap. The technology developed within the AES project utilizes 3 bioreactors to sustainably purify astronaut wastewater: An Organic Processor Assembly (OPA)/Anaerobic Membrane BioReactor and a Nutrient Processor Assembly (NPA) consisting of a PhotoMembrane BioReactor (PMBR) and a Suspended Aerobic Membrane BioReactor (SAMBR). In the early stages of the project, these subsystems were running independently for nominal and off-nominal testing and analysis. As the project progressed, the OPA and the PMBR were integrated as part of a bigger bioregenerative wastewater purification system. Integration of these two advanced biological systems required the merging of different electrical and operational control systems. This paper will describe the efforts required to link these systems as well as unforeseen issues that arose after integration. Lessons learned related to the integration of these two subsystems are presented and discussed.


Jason Fischer, Amentum, US
Daniella Saetta, University of South Florida/NASA, US
Joshua Finn, The Bionetics Corporation, US
Talon Bullard, University of South Florida, US
Alexandra Smith, University of South Florida, US
Lawernce Koss, Amentum, US
Oscar Monje, Amentum, US
Daniel Yeh, University of South Florida, US
Luke Roberson, NASA, US
ICES204: Bioregenerative Life Support
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


Wastewater, Resource recovery, Biological, Human Waste, Bioreactor, Environmental Control and Life Support Systems, Membrane Bioreactors, Early Planetary Base, Partial Gravity Habitat