15, October 2020

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO10173
Open Date: 14/10/2020
Closing Date: 25/11/2020 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 20.129.02
Prog. Ref.: Technology Developme
Budget Ref.: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Products: Orbital Transportation & Re-entry Systems / Environment and Crew Life Support (ECLS) / ECLS / Pressure, air, water, lighting systems, …
Technology Domains: Environmental Control & Life Support (ECLS) and In Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) / ECLS / Environmental Control and Monitoring
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Mechanical Department
Division: Mechatronics and Optics Division
Contract Officer: Magne-Lie, Karine
Industrial Policy Measure: C3 – Activities restricted to SMEs & R&D organisations, prefe…
Last Update Date: 14/10/2020
Update Reason: Tender issue

Waste management is a critical component of manned space exploration in particular for life support systems. Currently, no waste management practice has been implemented in space other than sealing organic waste materials into plastic bags, mixing with other waste items (e.g. packaging/padding materials used for transportation of cargo items), followed by manual compaction and temporary storage into visiting cargo vehicles. In general, accumulated wastes are discarded either as part of returning cargos (minimal amount) orincinerated during re-entry. Waste materials mainly encompasses human metabolic wastes (e.g. faecal matter), organic wastes (e.g. food, plastics containing food residues, sanitary wipes, etc.) as well as packaging/padding materials used for transportation of cargo items. Today, it is estimated that 50% of pressurized cargo uploaded mass is mostly composed of packaging/padding material (e.g. two to three layers of plastic bags, ziplock bags, bubble wrap per item transported, foam blocks, etc.), which are not – and cannot -be re-used/recycled/transformed into resources and become ultimate mission wastes. Current approaches to manned spaceflight logistics and waste management are consequently not sustainable: waste management does not prevent microbial proliferation nor the growth of potentially harmful microbial pathogens, and therefore represents biosafety risks for the crew, and a significant part of uploadedmass is wasted and waste volume reduction is very limited. In order to address these issues, it is proposed to identify – technologies for inhibition and compaction of wastes generated during the mission, in view of safe, temporary storage, and which allow further processing and recovery of resources by Life Support Systems. – biodegradable packaging materials for cargo items, which are compatible with the selected inhibition and compaction process. The activity includes the following tasks/steps: – Technical Interchange Meeting with ISS Logistic Support and Maintenance Working Group to review logistics and waste management as performed today for ISS in order to quantify resources and wastes fluxes to and from ISS, and review/assess applicable requirements for physical characteristics of packaging materials (e.g. mass, elasticity, resistance to rupture, opacity, etc.). – Definition of preliminary waste management requirements for manned missions (i.e. waste inhibition and compaction, biodegradable packaging/padding materials). – Extensive state of the art of wastes inhibition and compaction methods/processes compatible with resources recovery, and existing biodegradable materials. – Trade-off and selection of potential waste inhibition and compaction processes as well as packaging/padding materials compliant with applicable requirements for packaging and with each other. – Tests to validate selected waste inhibition and compaction technology (microbial inhibition efficiency, long-term stability of treated material, volume reduction efficiency, off-gases/liquids generated during treatment, etc.), as well as biodegradability of treated packaging material – Consolidation of requirements,conceptual design of waste inhibition and compaction process compatible with recovery of resources by Life Support Systems.Procurement Policy: C(3) = Activity restricted to SMEs RD Entities. For additional information please go to EMITS news “Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes”.

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