Trading Advanced Oxygen Recovery Architectures and Technologies
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A trade study was performed to evaluate several technologies designed to increase oxygen recovery from carbon dioxide compared to the International Space Station (ISS) state-of-the-art. The study employed an equivalent system mass (ESM) approach that combined alternative Spacecraft Oxygen Recovery (SCOR) technologies with either unscaled or scaled ISS technologies to complete the functionality of the oxygen generation system architecture (where necessary) and to assess the overall life support system impact. ESM calculations based on a target system reliability (achieved by adding redundancy or spares) were included similar to a 2012 study, but assuming a lower level of reparability. Simpler two-failure tolerant ESM calculations were also performed. A component-level database for several ISS technologies was built to support the calculations. The combination of scalability and lower-level reparability significantly reduces the breakeven time for regenerative technologies compared to previous studies. Although there is currently considerable uncertainty in many of the assumptions and technology characteristics, the results suggest some clear patterns and benefits. The approach has the potential to help guide and prioritize life support technology development as part of an ongoing assessment combined with other considerations such as safety, development risk, and cost.