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NASA Selects UTA, 3 Others to Develop Oxygen Recovery Process

Friday, October 10, 2014

Courtesy: NASA

NASA has selected four partners to develop game changing technologies with the potential to increase the oxygen recovery rate aboard human spacecraft to at least 75 percent while achieving high reliability. These oxygen recovery and recycling technologies will drive exploration and enable our human journey to Mars and beyond.

"Improving oxygen recovery while achieving high reliability is critical for any long-duration human spaceflight missions where oxygen resupply from Earth isn't available," said NASA Associate Administrator for Space Technology Michael Gazarik. "NASA recognizes that sustained technology investments must be made to mature the capabilities required to reach the challenging destinations that await exploration; such as cis-lunar space, an asteroid, and Mars. These ambitious projects will enable the critical life support systems needed for us to venture further into space and explore the high frontier and are another example of how technology drives exploration."

Phase I awards are up to $750,000, providing awardees with the funding for 15 months to complete the engineering development unit hardware phase. Technologies selected to continue to Phase II will develop prototype hardware with NASA support that provides up to $2 million per award for up to 24 months.

The organizations selected to work on the development of advanced life-support technologies are:

  • NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland: "Oxygen Recovery from Carbon Dioxide Using Ion Exchange Membrane Electrolysis Technology"
  • Glenn Research Center: "A Combined Solid Oxide Co-Electrolyzer and Carbon Formation Reactor System for Spacecraft Life Support Oxygen Regeneration"
  • UMPQUA Research Co., Myrtle Creek, Oregon: "Continuous Bosch Reactor"
  • University of Texas at Arlington: "Microfluidic Electrochemical Reactor for Oxygen Recovery via Carbon Dioxide Electrolysis

Future maturation of these technologies may use the International Space Station National Laboratory as a proving ground to retire risk and gain experience with capabilities needed for deep-space exploration.

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