Questions tagged [life-support]

Questions about life support systems in use on spacecraft, space stations, extraterrestrial colonies, or simulated extraterrestrial environments, about their function, design, effectiveness, historical references, or any other considerations regarding their use in space exploration.

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6
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1answer
66 views

How are the Archival Samples of water on the ISS handled?

This answer includes this schematic showing the overview of the water processing system on the ISS, found on page 341 (page 375 of the pdf) of The International Space Station - Operating an Outpost in ...
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1answer
275 views

Is the silica gel used in the ISS recycled?

I read this answer which raises the question of what happens to the silica gel used in the ISS once it has absorbed humidity. The ISS relies on silica gel to absorb humidity from the atmosphere to ...
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What typically gets sent to the ISS?

I'm working on a project that aims to understand what is needed to live in space. I understand the basic concepts and vital items needed, but I'd love to see a direct example of what is already being ...
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1answer
103 views

How fast were Apollo atmosphere composition reverted back to sea-level atmosphere?

Apollo spacecraft used a pure oxygen atmosphere while in space and an atmosphere with 60% oxygen at launch time. This chapter describes how the atmosphere composition varied from 60% to 100% oxygen in ...
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Have military rations ever been supplied to crews in space?

Most space food has been specially designed preserved food to meet concerns specific to space flight. Has any space program supplied MREs or other rations from their military for astronauts?
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1answer
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What effects did the different air pressure and air composition in certain spacecraft have on astronauts?

The Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, and in space the Apollo spacecraft, didn't pressurize their cockpits to 1 atm with Earth-like atmospheric composition; instead, they used pure oxygen at much lower ...
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1answer
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Was the Apollo 13 CO2 problem a matter of capacity, or of rate?

During Apollo 13, an explosion in the service module caused the command module to lose electrical power. This required using the environmental control system of the lunar module to remove carbon ...
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1answer
109 views

How much nitrogen did Skylab and the Space Shuttle carry for atmosphere makeup?

This comment below Where there any spacecraft with nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, but without a system for nitrogen replenishment? mentions: Both Skylab and shuttle had N2 tanks for atmosphere makeup. ...
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1answer
125 views

Were there any spacecraft with nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, but without a system for nitrogen replenishment?

When watching the Vintage Space video Apollo’s Flammable Oxygen Atmosphere Explained, I started to think: was there ever any spacecraft proposed with nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, but without a system ...
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How long could the ISS function if removed from Earth orbit?

Suppose the ISS were instantaneously moved to the opposite side of the Sun from Earth - how long would it continue to function? Are there any systems aboard that depend on passing behind the planet ...
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2answers
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What did the Apollo missions do with old LiOH canisters & the water they produced?

We all love the Apollo 13 story, but the famous lithium hydroxide CO2 scrubber of that mission has made it hard for me to find information about its regular use. What happened to the old canisters ...
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1answer
162 views

What is the most massive object in the ISS whose position was altered by the circulating air?

In Leo S's comment to the question, Do astronauts develop the ability to regularly place an object at rest inside the ISS after extended periods in microgravity?, he said "forces due to circulation of ...
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148 views

How exactly is the balance of minerals handled on ISS with the use of reclaimed (demineralised) water for human consumption?

This question and answers to it contain wealth of information regarding recycling of ISS resources, and water is one of them. Water, recycled from water waste, atmosphere moisture and urine, is ...
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ISS Life Support Consumable use rate

At what rate does the International Space Station, (ISS), consume life support resources and other consumables? I'm attempting to calculate long term life supoprt requirements for a system based on ...
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120 views

Why do spacesuits have air in the body? [duplicate]

Wouldn’t it be easier to make a space suit that only maintains air around the head, and just has a “tight” insulated and shielded suit around the body? It seems to me the reasons we need a space ...
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1answer
279 views

Reentry without pressure suits in Apollo: was there a formal risk assesment?

In Apollo 11 Flight Journal the following is stated: The crew will make re-entry without suits or helmets on. Although this was a controversial decision on the first Apollo flight, Apollo 7, when the ...
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Algae Bioreactor for O2 and CO2 (and food?) - Any data on required size and power requirements?

I believe that the requirements for a single persons $\require{mhchem}\ce{O2}$/$\ce{CO2}$ balance run somewhere in the region of $8m^2$ of algae, which would seem to be possible in a single $\approx ...
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384 views

Why doesn't the ISS have more oxygen generators?

According to this article, the O2 reclamation on the ISS is capable of producing about 2kg of O2 per day. However, crews need slightly more than this. What is preventing NASA/Roscosmos/anyone else ...
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4answers
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Are there types of animals that can't make the trip to space? (physiologically)

I thought about what kind of animals could make it to space, and I thought about how vertebrates can apparently withstand the G forces need to travel to the ISS, but I hadn't really thought about ...
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165 views

How many people could the ISS support?

How many people can fit on the ISS? At what person would life support be overwhelmed?
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2answers
202 views

Do current plans for people going to Mars by SpaceX depend only on consumables loaded from Earth?

Do current plans for people going to Mars by SpaceX depend only on consumables loaded from Earth or do they also include obtaining some materials from Mars fairly soon after arrival? Does the plan ...
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189 views

Would a space station be able to watch a world wide cataclysm and how long would the crew be able to survive for? [closed]

I know there is other questions with similar concerns about there being any protocols in pace if the crew of space station were to witness a world wide cataclysm and the survivability of the crew if ...
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1answer
4k views

How did humans grow plants on the Moon despite the harsh conditions?

The Chang'e 4 lander contains seeds to grow plants on the Moon. The Moon has non-sustainable life conditions. Among those are the lack of water, atmosphere, the varying extreme temperatures, the low ...
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1answer
159 views

Pressurized Organic Oxygen Pods

Human waste could be used in a hydroponics facility to grow algae in space or Mars in pressurized tanks, and the photosynthesis can be used to convert CO2 to breathable oxygen. A carbon dioxide ...
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How long would a stranded Apollo crew have survived on the Moon?

If the Apollo ascent vehicle hadn't been able to take off from the Moon, how long was the crew expected to have survived? And what would the likely natural cause of death be? I've heard that partial ...
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1answer
491 views

Does ISS get a surplus of oxygen or water?

[overhauling the question to get rid of misconceptions, which were irrelevant anyway] In the balance of input/output of the system ISS is, I spotted something that looks like build-up of stockpile of ...
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4answers
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Could we breathe an atmosphere that is not nitrogen based?

As I understand it, the important part of Earth's atmosphere that we breathe is the oxygen. However, Earth's air is only about 21% oxygen with the rest made up of about 78% nitrogen and 1% other gases,...
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122 views

What was the coverage of the Yuegong-1 (Lunar Palace-1) experiment in terms of life-support?

The Yuegong-1 (Lunar Palace-1) experiment in China aimed at evaluating bio-regenerative life-support systems, and crew psychology. Some reports explain: Liu Hong said the test marks the longest ...
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2answers
388 views

How does the sabatier system reduce water shipments to the ISS?

So I thought I'd answered my own question (How close is the ISS to a closed system?), but I just realized there's a missing piece. This is the chemical equation for how hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon ...
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3answers
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How close is the ISS to a closed system, in terms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen?

I found this diagram of the ISS ECLSS material flow and noticed the $CO_2$ being vented off the station. source Now, I understand this is outdated since they added a Sabatier reaction system to ...
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1answer
783 views

Why did Apollo 13 need to scrub the air in the LM?

One of the dramatic moments of Apollo 13 (in real life, not just the movie) was when they had to build scrubbers for the LM ("fit the square peg in a round hole"). Why did they have to do that? The ...
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1answer
264 views

How big is a human's space bubble?

How big is a human's (space) bubble - in other words: how far could we (as mankind) transport a human being from Earth in such a way that the being would be still alive? (Let's not consider returning.)...
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Did the Soviet TMK crew have any chance of survival with the knowledge and technology of its era?

In response to the United States announcement of manned moon landing plans, the Soviet Union announced the TMK program. This program would have sent manned missions to Venus and Mars. The original ...
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1answer
375 views

Artificial planet

If we have discovered artificial gravitational force, will we be able to create an artificial habitable planet in our solar system? E.g., if a rotating cylindrical object in space can produce ...
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7k views

How many times were there thirteen people inside the ISS? Is it hard on the station?

I just saw this photo in @SF.'s answer It is ISS023-E-023513 STS-131 and Expedition 23. The full caption is below. Are there really 13 people on the ISS at one time? Is STS-131 the only shuttle ...
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1answer
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Any potential downside to throwing personal life support out the door on the Moon?

I found this really interesting description of the ALSEP instrumentation placed on the moon during the Apollo 11 landing, written by Hamish Lindsay, (also, author of Tracking Apollo to the Moon). One ...
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Could a spacecraft be made out of wood?

Could a spacecraft use organic materials, like wood or bone or shell or other tissues, as an interface to the vacuum and radiation of space? Would wood outgas and crack up in space? I wonder if life ...
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2answers
565 views

What limits how long spacecrafts like Orion, Dragon, Starliner can support their crews' lives?

The next generation crewed spacecrafts is about to fly in the decade of 2020. Not only those in the headline here are trying to make it, but more are being developed privately and internationally. ...
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What is the mass of the Cabin Air Rack of the Quest Joint Airlock?

And where should I have looked for this information? The mass of the avionics rack would also be nice.
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1answer
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Why vent $CO_2$ and $H_2$ waste products to space on ISS?

In this answer, it's mentioned that waste $CO_2$ and $H_2$ from the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) are vented into space from ISS. Are there no other uses for this material ...
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1answer
252 views

Buddy Secondary Life Support System (BSLSS) on American suits

Is the Buddy Secondary Life Support System (BSLSS) available in today's American-made spacesuits used on the International Space Station? The BSLSS enables one astronaut to provide life support (...
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1answer
106 views

Where are the SAFFIRE-I results?

There was a bit of fanfare for the SAFFIRE-I experiment. I got excited... http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1761.html So they set fire to a Cygnus module before de-orbit....
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1answer
3k views

How have space suits dissipated the heat removed from astronauts?

I never thought about this until reading the comments below this answer. To radiate something like 150W (a very conservative lower limit of human + suit systems heat production - see @Uwe 's comment ...
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1answer
259 views

Life support: fraction of launch weight?

What fraction of launch payload mass for a manned (or animal'd) mission is attributable to life support equipment?
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1answer
371 views

Does it get cold in a container in space?

The image I have is that if we turn off heating in a space vehicle, the cold will be immense. However, I started figuring in terms of energy levels of particles (which is the temperature) and realized ...
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2answers
682 views

Is space suit using algae for oxygen production possible?

Current space suits carry oxygen bottles for oxygen and some sort of non-regenerative carbon dioxide scrubbers for removing carbon dioxide. This obviously means that a space suit is only able to ...
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1answer
2k views

Oxygen toxicity vs Apollo mission preparation

In the article on Apollo command module design, I read: The cabin atmosphere at launch was changed to 60% oxygen and 40% nitrogen at sea-level pressure: 14.7 psi (10.1 N/cm2). During ascent the cabin ...
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1answer
674 views

What is the composition of breathable air on the International Space Station? [duplicate]

On the ISS, the breathable air has to include oxygen, but it can't be pure oxygen for safety reasons. So what is the composition of breathable air on the station?
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247 views

What is the minimum amount of equipment you would need to make a reasonable amount of oxygen on the Moon with Molten Oxide Electrolysis?

MIT Professor Sadoway believes we can make oxygen anywhere on the moon with Molten Oxide Electrolysis (see here and here). Let's assume that you need to make enough oxygen to sustain an astronaut for ...
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2answers
404 views

Would the life support systems on the ISS and STS work well also in 1g?

Changing gravity level can be a problem for flows of fluids, gasses, heat and for structural loads. Much equipment designed for Earth gravity fail in microgravity (even light bulbs and ballpoint pens)....