System Level Design and Initial Equivalent System Mass Analysis of a Solid-Phase Thermophilic Aerobic Reactor for Advanced Life Support Systems


This paper presents a system-level design and initial equivalent systems mass (ESM) analysis for a solid-phase thermophilic aerobic reactor (STAR) system prototype that is designed for a Mars surface mission. STAR is a biological solid waste treatment system that reduces solid waste, neutralizes pathogens, and produces a stabilized product amenable to nutrient reuse and water recovery in a closed life support system. The STAR system is designed for long-duration space missions or long-term remote planetary operations. A system-level design analysis for sizing a STAR process and the subsequent ESM-based sensitivity analysis based on a 600-day Mars surface mission with a 6-person crew will be presented. Preliminary ESM sensitivity analysis identified that improving system energy conservation efficiency should be the focus of future research once the fundamental STAR process development has matured.


Presented at International Conference on Environmental Systems, July 2005, Rome, ITALY, Session: Biological Waste Processing & Microbial Processes I. This article was also part of the proceedings of the 2005 SAE ICES

Date of this Version




Publisher Identifier:

SAE Document Number: 2005-01-2983


SAE International

ALS NSCORT Project Number

Project 1: Solid Thermophilic Aerobic Reactor (STAR)

Project Lead

James E. Alleman




Published Materials

Administrative Contact

Dave Kotterman, dkotter@purdue.edu


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