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Airbus to Send Life Support Rack to ISS

By | September 5, 2018
ACLS being lifted into the HTV-7 cargo vessel. Photo: Airbus

ACLS being lifted into the HTV-7 cargo vessel. Photo: Airbus

Airbus is sending a new life support rack to the International Space Station (ISS). The rack, also known as the Advanced Closed Loop System (ACLS), has been developed by Airbus for the European Space Agency (ESA) as a technology demonstrator, which will purify air and produce oxygen for the ISS.

The life support rack is stored in the pressurized part of the Japanese HTV-7, an unmanned cargo spacecraft to resupply the ISS, which is currently set to launch from Tanegashima Space Center on Sept. 11, 2018. It will be installed into the Destiny Module (U.S. Laboratory) by ESA astronaut and ISS commander Alexander Gerst on Nov. 2, 2018. Its technology is a critical step forward towards a closed loop life support system, necessary for human spaceflight beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

A newly formed ACLS Operations Team (OPS), based at Airbus in Friedrichshafen, Germany, will operate the ACLS throughout its mission. ACLS OPS is part of the ISS’s ground network, and works directly with the ESA Columbus Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Following installation, the ACLS OPS team will commence a six week commissioning phase to check the new facility. Successful commissioning will be followed by operations on the ISS until the end of 2019, with the ACLS providing additional carbon dioxide removal and oxygen