Concepts for a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer for Exploration Missions



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


49th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Monitoring the Total Organic Carbon (TOC) in spacecraft potable water will be of major importance in long-duration human space exploration. In-flight analysis of potable water produced from a regenerative water processor provides immediate feedback on the quality of reclaimed water along with a system health check on the processing hardware. While the International Space Station (ISS) successfully employs a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) to complete these tasks, this device is not configured in a mass and volume form factor most suitable for long-duration missions, nor is it efficiently integrated into the water processing system. This paper summarizes the survey of potential technologies and their feasibility for application in a spaceflight TOC analyzer. The most promising of these technologies have been selected for further evaluation and development with the primary goal to achieve significant reductions in mass, volume, and resupply requirements over the current state-of-the-art TOCA system. Current development is focused on oxidation processes using excimer ultraviolet (UV), photocatalytic UV, or combustion technologies. Carbon dioxide (CO2) detection techniques under development are liquid-phase membrane-transfer conductivity and Raman spectroscopy as well as gas-phase tunable laser spectroscopy. Further work is planned to develop these individual technologies into full-functioning TOC system breadboards followed by selection and advancement to a technology demonstration of a next-generation TOCA on the ISS.


Chad Morrison, KBRwyle, USA
Christopher McPhail, Anadarko Industries (AI), USA
Michael Callahan, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
Stuart Pensinger, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
ICES205: Advanced Life Support Sensor and Control Technology
The 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 07 July 2019 through 11 July 2019.


Total Organic Carbon, Environmental Monitoring, Life Support Systems, Potable Water, Oxidation Reactor, Combustion Reactor, CO2 Detection