The NASA application for this technology will be as Flight Hardware for deployment in support of future, long duration exploration objectives beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) where efficient, reliable, laundering of clothing will reduce the ESM. On long duration missions re-supply is impossible. This technology promises to substantially reduce the ESM penalties associated with disposable clothing, including storage volume of new clothing as well as waste storage of used clothing. It will also increase astronaut comfort, as it will be more practicable to change clothing on a more frequent basis than when finite amounts of disposable clothing must be carried on the mission.
The primary focus of this program is to prevent the formation of sustainable foam and minimize the amount of water usage during the washing / rinsing cycles. The AMCILS relies on a weightless environment to minimize water consumption. Sustainable foam is only a problem in a weightless environment. At this time there are few customers that require operation of laundering facilities in a weightless environment. The drying function, utilizing microwave heat addition, could be easily integrated into Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) front loading wash machines. This would minimize space requirements in household by eliminating the need for a separate dryer unit. It may also provide a more energy efficient method of vaporizing liquid water entrained in clothing over simple heating with hot air. Commercial manufacturers of washing machines will be interested.