30, July 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10752
Open Date: 27/07/2021 15:05 CEST
Closing Date: 24/09/2021 13:00 CEST

Four astronauts can generate 2,500 kilograms of waste during a yearlong mission. Storing waste presents a safety risk to the crew, including biological and physical hazards. Currently the astronauts manually sort the waste into bags and load into a designated vehicle, which can either return the waste to Earth or release it to burn up in the atmosphere. Permanent waste storage would also be acritical issue in a lunar base. Beyond LEO, re-supply and waste management options change fundamentally.A recycling system to manage the waste therefore needs to be developed.The recycling system will identify and separate waste materials, those that are not worth recycling could betransferred to a thermal processing unit for decomposition.. The system will allow automatic sorting ofpolymer/composites into mono materials for use in thermal compaction (into rods for example), that can beused as a base filament for 3D printing of items such as tools, materials for maintenance, hardware.Shredders and grinders will separate all materials followed by identification and sorting into single typematerials (e.g. high quality filament with known mechanical properties). An autonomous software withsensors will identify the polymer/composite waste to separate the waste into different purifying streams forfurther recycling, such that human interaction is minimized.A minimum peak power will be required for energy efficiency, whilst also considering other factors such asnoise generation, total size, and insulation.The activity encompasses the following tasks:- Identify and concentrate on materials used in the vehicle with high added value in terms of recyclability and re-processability- Establish requirements (e.g. noise generation, total size, insulation, energy efficiency) and technicalspecifications,- Review of existing technologies and trade-offs for sensor solutions and designs for the recycling module,- Detailed design of the recycling module,- Manufacture and testing of the module breadboard,- Establish development and test plan for further qualification towards higher TRL levels and testing inmicrogravity.

Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. Quality
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Roman Karpov
Initiating Service: TEC-QEE
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 22-A-II-Regenerative Life / 24-A-I-Material Assessment / 24-B-IV-Advanced Materials Manufacture
Products Keywords: 3-C-1-d-Other

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