Spaceflight Exercise and Textile Laundering Machine Prototype



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2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems


Without proper laundering, clothing becomes a consumable in deep-space living, and also could present health risks to the crew. To address the problem of soiled textiles off Earth, researchers at UC Davis have developed an approach to laundering spaceflight textiles with a standalone exercise machine to provide a sustainable solution to managing biohazard textiles generated from exercise and daily life. The dual-purpose machine enables longer-duration missions by reducing the volume and mass of launched clothing, and by combining two health risk reduction activities (exercise and removing biohazards from the environment) with a single astronaut activity. The prototype combination of exercise and laundry mechanisms justifies the mass and volume of the system compared to having two machines that perform the same tasks independently.

Our proposed space laundry design is a hand/arm cycle exercise machine. Humans power three aspects of the device: first, a hydraulic pump to force water through soiled fabrics; second, a pitching plate mechanism that agitates a laundering bladder to promote textile contaminant removal while reducing textile damage; third, an electrical power generator that powers the microcontroller and sensors. This paper is a follow-up to "Spaceflight Exercise and Textile Laundering Machine for Improved Human Health" from ICES 2023 and discusses the development of a improved machine prototype; agitation, electrical generation, and water filtration are not included in the presented prototype. The prototype can wet, wash, rinse, and wring textiles with a fixed volume of water using human power while monitoring the contaminates removed from textiles. Surfactants are not present. A set of wastewater sensor suites uses custom conductivity sensors and diode spectrometers to quantify the relative abundance of electrolytes, bio-fluids (primary amine groups), and particulates entering the water from textiles. The paper will present early results of the sensor measurements from laundering perspiration-soiled fabrics with the spaceflight machine prototype.


Andrew R. Arends, University of California, Davis, USA
Stephen K. Robinson, University of California, Davis, USA
ICES304: Physico-Chemical Life Support- Waste Management Systems- Technology and Process Development
The 53rd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, on 21 July 2024 through 25 July 2024.


Laundry, Textiles, Space, Exercise, Spectrometry, Wastewater, Waste, Management, Logistics