NASA Achieves Water Recovery Milestone on International Space Station

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NASA, June 20, 2023

For space missions that venture beyond low Earth orbit, new challenges include how to provide basic needs for crew members without resupply missions from the ground.  NASA is developing life support systems that can regenerate or recycle consumables such as food, air, and water and is testing them on the International Space Station.

Ideally, life support systems need to recover close to 98% of the water that crews bring along at the start of a long journey. The space station’s Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) recently demonstrated that it can achieve that significant goal.

ECLSS is a combination of hardware that includes a Water Recovery System. This system collects wastewater and sends it to the Water Processor Assembly (WPA), which produces drinkable water. One specialized component uses advanced dehumidifiers to capture moisture released into the cabin air from crew breath and sweat.

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