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Future House | Living on the Space Station

Ask This Old House home technology expert Ross Trethewey travels to NASA Johnson Space Center to learn about the technology they use on the International Space Station to keep the astronauts alive

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1. The International Space Station uses an interconnected system to preserve resources on board, called the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS).
2. Part of ECLSS is the Water Processor Assembly (WPA). That system is responsible for scavenging water from different resources (breath, urine, etc.) and distilling it until it is potable again.
3. Another part of ECLSS involves oxygen generation. They have a tank that collects some of the water from the WPA and electrolyzes it, which can split it into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen gets pumped back into the Space Station and the hydrogen and carbon dioxide from the astronauts are vented outside.
4. Since a lot of the equipment on the International Space Station generate heat, they actually need to keep the station cool. They have lines of ammonia running on the outside of the station that transfer to water/glycol lines on the inside of the station. Vents on the top and bottom of the station circulate the air across the lines and keep the station cool.

Ross visited NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Scott Tingle, Captain Mike Foreman and NASA Johnson Space Center (

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Keywords: This Old House, How-to, home improvement, DIY, ask this old house, future house, ross trethewey, space station, technology, NASA

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