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© Photo: Roskosmos / Oleg Artemiev
MOSCOW, April 30 (Itar-Tass) – RIA Novosti. Russia has started to develop a sauna and a washing machine for use in orbital stations and bases on other planets, according to the website of the only domestic developer of such systems – the Research and Design Institute of Chemical Engineering (NIIhimmash).
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The first space shower appeared for the first time in 1974 at the station "Salute-4". It was a folding cabin of polyethylene, in which the cosmonauts could wash, without fear that the moisture would get on the electrical equipment of the station. The last time such an installation was used on the orbital complex "Peace". On the ISS, the shower was not done either because of the volumes occupied by the cabin, and because the astronauts were lazy to wipe the inner walls of the shower to dryness. At the same time, the cosmonauts themselves repeatedly expressed the desire to receive a new shower cabin, as they are now being wiped off with damp towels.
"To start the development of sanitary-hygienic means (shower, sauna, wash-hand basin, wash-basin, washing) and the system of sanitary-hygienic water regeneration", – the decision of the scientific and technical council of the institute says.
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In addition, NIIhimmash is tasked to develop research, development and testing of water reclamation systems for prospective spacecraft, stations and naval bases. "When developing complexes of regeneration life support systems, to achieve maximum isolation and maximum recovery factors for the target products (pure water – ed.)", – the decision of the council says.
Such a decision was made at a joint meeting of specialists from the Research Institute of Chemical Engineering, the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Rocket and Space Corporation "Energy".
At the request of RIA Novosti comment on the planned development in NIIhimmash did not respond.
The plans for the creation of a washstand for astronauts were mentioned in the annual report of the Research Institute of Chemical Engineering in 2015. Development, as reported in the document, should include a wash basin with water supply and suction, a fan, a separator, storage tanks and a system for cleaning contaminated water for reuse.
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In turn, in 2017 in the corporate magazine of the space rocket corporation "Energy" "Space technology and technology" was published an article with a description and drawings of a washing machine for use in outer space. The authors of the publication noted that this would significantly reduce the stock of personal care products and clothing items at the station due to their cleaning on board. Now cosmonauts wear one suit for three or four days, after which they throw it out.
Currently, several development systems of NIIhimmash are operating on the Russian segment of the ISS. This system of water recovery from the condensate of atmospheric moisture SRV-K2M, the system of reception and conservation of urine SPK-UM, the system of electrolytic oxygen production "Electron-VM", carbon dioxide purification system "Air" and a system for cleaning from harmful microimpurities of SOA-MP. In 2016, in the wreck of a cargo ship "Progress" the plant for the recovery of water from urine, which was transported to the ISS, was lost. The new system was delivered to the station this year. The water so obtained for drinking is not planned to be used, but it will be used for technical needs.
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As representatives of NIIhimmash in Moscow said at a conference on space biology and medicine in December 2017, the water reclamation systems installed on the ISS will allow to receive up to 88 percent of the liquid by processing in the future. In total, according to specialists’ calculations, ideally this figure can be brought up to 94 percent. To date, the amount of recycled liquid used by the Russian segment of the ISS is only 38 percent of the total. Despite this, since 1998, by processing various liquids and atmospheric moisture, more than 21 tons of water and more than 5 tons of oxygen have been obtained.