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Advanced Exploration Systems Division

Life Support Systems: Oxygen Generation and Recovery

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Life Support Systems project Oxygen Generation and Recovery technology development area encompasses several sub-tasks in an effort to supply oxygen to the crew at the required conditions, to recover oxygen from metabolic carbon dioxide, and to recycle recovered oxygen back to the cabin environment. These technologies are under consideration for future deep-space missions.  The project is developing technologies to provide high-pressure oxygen either through high-pressure water electrolysis; using low-pressure electrolysis then drying, purifying, and compressing; and through solid-state oxygen separation, then drying, purifying, and compressing.  The project is developing a technology to deliver low-pressure oxygen using the Bosch chemical process.  The project is developing a technology to increase oxygen recovery using methane pyrolysis and hydrogen separation to recover hydrogen from methane, combine the hydrogen with carbon dioxide to produce water, and then use electrolysis to separate oxygen from the hydrogen.

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