Air conditioning in orbit: how is stored the breathing environment on the ISS

© Illustration RIA Novosti . A. Polyaninova Alexander Misurkin to the ISSAir conditioning in orbit: how is stored the breathing environment on the ISS© Illustration RIA Novosti . A. Polyanina

One hundred and fifteen years ago he first earned the system maintain the desired room temperature — in other words, the first air conditioning. So there was the possibility of the formation of the respiratory environment in confined spaces, giving the prospects of building suitable for human dwelling on other planets.

This idea is now being tested on ISS, there are installed the regeneration system of air developed by Soviet and Russian engineers, in fact, much improved conditioning.If the driving device of a conventional air conditioner includes a condenser, expansion valve, evaporator and compressor (this is a simplified diagram of the compression of air conditioning), in the diagram to the International space station with air fit for breathing, includes 16 complex multi-component devices that are associated with each other.
The complexity of the system goes from a task to save on shipping, air and water, because each kilogram of cargo, came on Board is very expensive (2 $ 380 using rocket «proton» or 4 242 dollar with the help of «Soyuz-2»). It is clear that the life support system built on the principle of circulation of air and water, would significantly reduce the cost of space travel, so in the 60-ies of the Soviet scientists and engineers were given such a task.

To ensure the desired gas environment on the ISS are the systems developed in Scientific-research and design Institute of chemical engineering: electrolysis system for producing oxygen from recycled water, purification of atmosphere from trace impurities, purification of the atmosphere from carbon dioxide and its concentration, as well as system of utilization of carbon dioxide by decomposition to water and methane according to the method of Sabatier.
To control the gas mixture is continuously measured hydrogen content, nitrogen, ammonia, acetone and other impurities. The maintenance of these plants usually does not exceed standards.

© Illustration RIA Novosti . A. Polanicazdroj of impurities in the air on earth and the ISSAir conditioning in orbit: how is stored the breathing environment on the ISS© Illustration RIA Novosti . A. Polanicazdroj of impurities in the air on earth and the ISS

Each of the sixteen systems is much more complicated than ordinary air conditioning. For example, SBN (on-Board purification from trace impurities of the air service module) has five filters, each of which performs its function.

© Institute of chemical mashinostroeniia purification of the atmosphere from trace impurities (SBMP)Air conditioning in orbit: how is stored the breathing environment on the ISS© Institute of chemical mashinostroeniia purification of the atmosphere from trace impurities (SBMP)

One pre-treatment; another (FOA) is needed in order to absorb from the atmosphere and hold the «heavy» hydrocarbons (ethane, propane, butane); the third (ZPL) cleanses from «light» and «srednesibirskoe» impurities, using the vacuum of space; the fourth filter (PKF) is designed for the oxidation of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide; the fifth (FSC-T) works for the elimination of methane and carbon monoxide.

© Photo : JSC «NIICHIMMASH»System SBMP JSC «NIICHIMMASH»Air conditioning in orbit: how is stored the breathing environment on the ISS© Photo : JSC «NIICHIMMASH»System SBMP JSC «NIICHIMMASH»

 

Now the specialists of the research Institute of chemical machine building set new ambitious task — to ensure the survival of crews in long duration space missions. This means that near the astronauts will not land services, who can at any moment come to the rescue. On the one hand, you will need to provide the ship with everything necessary, with another — not to overload it. Thus, the calculated necessary additions to the existing system, which may provide air and water the first generation of people on a new planet.

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