With the upgrades in place, the station will be able to support double the crew — six astronauts — and conduct a larger array of scientific experiments.
Among many upgrades, a new water purification system will recycle urine and other waste, and trap the water breathed out by the astronauts as they live and work in space. These upgrades will ensure continuous freshwater for the crew, while eliminating most refills from Earth.
“Up until this point, the majority of the station’s drinking water was coming up from the shuttle or the Russian’s Progress vehicle,” lead shuttle flight director Mike Sarafin said in a press release. “This sets us up for long-term sustainability of the station without the shuttle.”
Other modules brought aboard include new crew quarters, a new toilet, a new kitchen, a new refrigerator and new exercise equipment.
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Source : NASA
Inset photo: NASA/Troy Cryder
Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org