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The ability to recycle potable water from waste water is an integral part of the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) of human-rated space missions. Several water recycling systems (WRSs) have been tested and deployed by NASA in the past, such as the Advanced Water Recovery System (AWRS) designed and built at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) as part of the Advanced Life Support System, and the Direct Osmotic Concentration (DOC) System, currently undergoing performance testing at JSC.

The water recycling system (WRS) deployed at NASA Ames Research Center’s Sustainability Base will serve as a testbed for long duration testing of next generation spacecraft water recycling systems for future human spaceflight missions. Sustainability Base is a NASA office building that uses innovations and technology developed for the space program to expand the possibilities of building sustainability on Earth. In addition to providing working offices for 225 employees it also serves as a test bed for emerging NASA technologies. The WRS of the Sustainability Base will collect and recycle all graywater from sinks and showers into clean water, and is designed to reduce the building water consumption of the Sustainability Base by 60%.

Figure 1: The Water Recycling System with the Sustainability Base in the background

Like all engineered systems, the WRS is prone to standard degradation due to regular use, as well as other faults. The goal of this project is to deploy diagnostic and prognostic applications on the WRS to ensure its safe, efficient, and correct operation. Specifically, the research goals of this project are as follows:

  • Development of a physics model of nominal system behavior of the WRS.
  • Identification of possible faults in the WRS and modeling the progression of these faults
  • Diagnosis, i.e., detection, isolation, and identification of faults
  • Prognosis, i.e., reliably predicting how the system will evolve in the future, irrespective of whether an abnormal condition is present or not

The diagnostic and prognostic results can be used to:

  • Enable condition-based maintenance to avoid unplanned outages
  • Perhaps extend the useful life of the WRS.

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