A Space Station Trash Recovery and Recycling System

by Thomas C. Taylor, Global Outpost Inc, United States,
David Nixon, Global Outpost Inc, United States,
Jan Kaplicky, Global Outpost Inc, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space II


The quantity of trash produced on the Space Station during its lifetime will be substantial and will include useful waste materials. Given the high cost of transportation to orbit, it can be retained for eventual recycling. A trash management system enables crews to discard trash by type and store it in modular packages which are periodically removed by EVA to an external adjacent holding point. The holding point is visited annually by OMV and trash packages are removed to remote long-term storage which utilizes a Shuttle External Tank as a depository platform. The External Tank is modified to support eventual recycling hardware to process the stored waste material into useful components on-orbit. This system has three potential benefits: it can liberate valuable Space Station internal stowage volume; it can initiate long-term stockpiling of useful raw materials on-orbit for future use; it can encourage commercial initiatives in materials processing in space.

Subject Headings: Space stations | Recycling | Solid wastes | Materials processing | Systems management | Aircraft and spacecraft | Waste management

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