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Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) Systems

Living reference work entry
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Abstract

Environmental control and life support (ECLS) systems provide the conditions necessary to maintain astronaut's health during a mission. They have been a part of every human-rated vehicle from Mercury onward, from carbon dioxide scrubbers and drink bags, to sophisticated air and water recovery technologies. In order to enable human exploration beyond low Earth orbit for an extended time, such as a mission to Mars, closed-loop life support, the continuous use, reuse, and recycling of air, water, and waste will be necessary. This chapter provides a brief history of air revitalization, wastewater, and solid waste recovery systems from the early spaceflight era to the present, potential technologies in development to facilitate further loop closure, and considerations for future life support system development in support of exploration.

Keywords

Life support Air revitalization Water recovery Solid waste Loop closure Spacecraft 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Molly Anderson and Dr. John Graf for their review of this manuscript. Any valuable insights are theirs; any errors in this chapter are mine. I would also like to thank the numerous technicians, engineers, and scientists who have designed, tested, and implemented life support technologies on earth and in orbit over the last five decades. The challenges and lessons learned from their efforts will enable human exploration of the solar system in the years to come.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Leticia Vega
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterHouston, TXUSA

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