NASA is seeking technologies, methods, or products that could lengthen the time clothing is worn. The purpose of the search is to reduce the mass and volume of clothing required for astronauts while in space due to limitations of laundry in micro-gravity.

NASA is seeking technologies, methods, or products that could lengthen the time clothing is worn.Click To Tweet

Background:

Astronaut clothing must be thrown away when it gets dirty due to the complexity of laundry in micro-gravity exploration missions. However, this current method would not be feasible for long duration missions due to mass and volume penalties. Any technology, method, or product that could lengthen the time clothing can be worn before becoming objectionable due to smell, feel, or look, would be of interest.

Constraints:

Technologies should either currently meet these constraints or have a reasonable expectation of meeting similar constraints in the future.  Systems that address a subset of these constraints are also of interest.

  • Solutions should limit the volume of consumables used in addition to meeting weight, mass and power requirements (maximum requirements per 1kg of clothes refreshed: 30kg, 500 W, 0.2m3)
  • Optimally be autonomous or semi-autonomous to minimize crew time
  • Does not include flammable, toxic, corrosive or water soluble volatile organic compounds; Siloxanes are strongly discouraged
  • Technologies should be capable of operating in a microgravity environment or adapted to such an environment.

 

Possible Solution Areas:

  • Sterilization techniques for medical equipment, garments, and bedding in hospitals and other medical facilities
  • Textile treatment to extend wear time of clothing between washes
  • Devices that refreshes laundry/clothing with minimal power and consumables

 

Desired outcome of the solution:

NASA plans to evaluate innovative ways to refresh clothes that are also compatible with space conditions on the Space Station in a few years.