Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Space Station Water System Running

Crews aboard the international space station feel they have a fix on the urine separation water system as testing and sample collection pleased ground controllers throughout today.

A section of the Water Recovery System works to separate water from crew urine to make it drinkable thus assisting in larger crew sizes beginning next year. Space station mission management hopes to bring back to earth samples of water from the system which separated the urine out for testing.

According to Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center: The Urine Processor Assembly (UPA) ran three successful cycles since modifications Sunday and Monday. Based on that success, program managers decided they will leave the distillation assembly on orbit. They were able to get the samples processed through the UPA and Water Processing Assembly and dispensed through the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD). Those initial samples will be returned on Endeavour. Samples will continue to be collected during the next several months to ensure it is working properly before being used for crew consumption.

The space station's commander Mike Fincke worked on Sunday to remove several vibration isolators and hard mount the system so that the system's sensors did not shutdown the motor. The sensors were detecting that the motor was not working at normal power, and the vibration dampers actual helped the system work more efficiently.

Also today, space station control center began tests on the starboard solar array rotary joint [SARJ] work which was performed on each of the four spacewalks the past seven days [read our reports below]. Beginning this morning, tests were conducted on the water-wheel-like rotation of the system.

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