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Advanced Exploration Systems Division

Logistics Reduction: Universal Waste Management System (LR-UWMS)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

The objective of the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Logistics Reduction (LR) project's Universal Waste Management System (UWMS) task is to develop a compact toilet system that can be used across multiple future crewed vehicles and habitats. The UWMS effort will result in a toilet with reduced mass and volume that provides increased crew comfort and performance. A key feature of the UWMS is the urine pretreatment dose pump/pretreatment quality indication device which enables water recovery from urine. The UWMS core hardware is primarily funded by the AES LR project, with cost sharing from the Orion (MultiPurpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV)) Program for a second flight unit, and the ISS Program for ISS-unique hardware and integration hardware for flying the first UWMS unit on ISS. 

Procurement of the UWMS started late in 2015.  UWMS Integration and ISS planning began in 2015 and will continue through early 2020 in collaboration with the ISS Payloads Office and the Orion Program. 

The UWMS will be flown on the ISS as a technology demonstration payload in FY20. After the initial AES technology demonstration period, the UWMS will remain on ISS for an extended demonstration until the end of ISS life.  The extended demonstration supports increased ISS crew size once US commercial crew vehicles are operational. The ISS UWMS demonstration will validate the hygienic collection of urine and feces.  Effective collection is critical to maintain crew health and hygiene for long-duration habitats.  Additionally, the ISS technology demonstration will demonstrate the ability to pretreat urine and deliver it to the ISS urine processor.  The pretreat pump and pretreat quality sensor are important components of a future long-term space habitat water recovery system. A second UWMS unit will be developed to fly on the MPCV Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2) mission.

The waste management team collaborates on a Phase 2 SBIR on torrefaction of feces to assess it's feasibility for space missions.  Additionally, the UWMS team collaborates with the MPCV's Launch, Entry, and Abort (LEA) space suit team for contingency urine and fecal waste collection systems.  The LEA suit waste collection system is used if the MPCV loses cabin pressure but it may be possible to use the LEA contingency system to provide a backup for waste collection if the UWMS became inoperable.

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