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Mars Campaign Office

Logistics Reduction and Repurposing Project (LRR)

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

LRR Turns Trash from Problem to Opportunity

The project enables a largely mission-independent, cradle-to-grave-to-cradle approach to minimize logistics contributions to total mission architecture mass. The goals are to engineer logistics materials, common crew consumables, and container configurations to meet five basic goals. When these five goals are integrated across a mission, they will reduce ISS-equivalent packaging volume by 50%.

The Logistics Reduction Project is the follow-on to this project. 

The Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Logistics Reduction and Repurposing (LRR) project will enable a mission-independent cradle-to-grave-to-cradle approach to minimize logistics contributions to total mission architecture mass. The goals of LRR are to systematically engineer common crew consumables, container configurations, and waste management to meet five basic goals:

  1. Direct reduction of logistical mass.
  2. Improved automated tracking of logistical items in packaging containers and cabin environments to allow denser logistical packaging at launch and to save on-orbit crew time.
  3. Direct reusing and repurposing of logistical items to avoid flying separate items to meet both functions.
  4. Reprocessing of logistical items to provide a secondary function, increase habitable volume, and enhance life support closure.
  5. Deconstruction of logistical materials and reconstruction to primary gases or as a means of reducing waste volume through venting.


The goals of the Logistics project will be accomplished through five hardware tasks plus a strong systems engineering analysis and integration function. The five hardware oriented tasks are:

  1. Use of an Advanced Clothing System (ACS) to directly reduce the mass and volume of clothing needed to be flown.  Antimicrobial treatments are applied to current and lighter weight commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) exercise clothing to investigate if they could be used for longer periods of time.  Longer wear clothing will change the break-even point for laundering (vs. clothing disposal) sufficiently to delay development until Mars surface missions are planned.
  2. Use of Autonomous Logistics Management (ALM) methods using radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies and 3D localization and complex event processing to enable automatic inventory tracking as resources move around a vehicle.  ALM will reduce crew time in locating stored items in densely packed areas and enable the location of lost items.
  3. Repurposing of logistics-to-living (L2L) multipurpose cargo transfer bags (MCTBs) for on-orbit outfitting.  MCTBs can be used for constructing crew quarters, privacy or sound-adsorbing partitions, contingency water storage or waste water processing units, and dense-area RFID enclosures for ALM.  Reuse of the MCTB logistics carriers prevents the need to fly separate items.
  4. Conversion of waste and used logistical items to useable products with a heat melt compactor (HMC).  Waste items are heated and mechanically compacted into stable tiles that can be used for radiation shielding.  Additionally, water is recovered for life support processing.  For a one-year mission, it is estimated that HMC could recover ~10 cubic meters of habitable volume, produce over 800 kg of radiation shielding tiles, and recover 230-720 kg of water.
  5. Reformulation of trash to gas (TtG) to make propellant from waste products.  Thermochemical processes are used to deconstruct trash to its hydrocarbon constituents and recombine it to form methane and other gases useful for propellant or life support.  For a one year mission, it is estimated that TtG could produce up to 1500 kg of methane from trash.
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