Elektron (ISS)


Elektron (ISS)

Elektron is a Russian oxygen generator used on board the International Space Station (ISS). The Elektron uses electrolysis to produce oxygen. This process splits water molecules reclaimed from other uses on board the station into oxygen and hydrogen via electrolysis. The oxygen is vented into the cabin and the hydrogen is vented into space. The three Elektron oxygen generators on board the International Space Station have been plagued with problems, sometimes forcing the crew to use backup sources of bottled oxygen and Solid Fuel Oxygen Generation (SFOG) canisters. Each canister can supply the oxygen needs of one crewmember for one day. NASA delivered a similar American-built system with Discovery flight STS-121, to supplement the Russian Elektron oxygen system and eventually support a crew of six. It became operational in 2007.cite press release
title =International Space Station Status Report: SS07-01
publisher =National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
date =2007-01-05
url =http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2007/jan/HQ_SS0701_station_status.html
accessdate =
]

Elektron failures

* September 8, 2004: The Elektron unit shut down mysteriously. Two weeks of troubleshooting resulted in the unit starting up again, then immediately shutting down. The cause was eventually traced to gas bubbles in the unit, which remained non-functional until a Progress resupply mission in October 2004. [http://www.wired.com/news/space/0,2697,65026,00.html Wired News: Space O2 Generator Fails Again, Sep, 20, 2004]

* January 1, 2005: ISS personnel tapped into the oxygen supply of the recently-arrived Progress resupply ship, when the Elektron unit failed. [http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/exp10_elektron_050104.html Space.com: Repaired Oxygen Generator Fails Again Aboard ISS, 4 January 2005]

* September 18, 2006: Fumes from a malfunctioning Elektron unit prompted NASA flight engineers to declare a "spacecraft emergency". A burning smell led the ISS crew to suspect another Elektron fire, but the unit was only "very hot". A leak of corrosive, odorless potassium hydroxide forced the ISS crew to don gloves and face masks. It has been conjectured that the smell came from overheated rubber seals. The incident occurred shortly after Space Shuttle Atlantis left and just before arrival of a resupply mission (including space tourist Anousheh Ansari). [http://www.spaceflightnow.com/station/exp13/060918elektron.html Spaceflight Now: Oxygen generator problem triggers station alarm, September 18, 2006] The Elektron did not come back on line until November 2006, after new valves and cables arrived on the October 2006 Progress resupply vessel. [http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/nov/HQ_SS06048_station_status.html International Space Station Status Report #48, November 3, 2006]

References

See also

* Life support system

External links

* [http://www.jamesoberg.com/elektron2_tec.html JamesOberg.com] detailed info on Elektron
* [http://www.spaceref.com/iss/ops/sm.life.support.book2.pdf SM Life Support Book (PDF)] at [http://www.spaceref.com/iss/operations.html#sm SpaceRef.com ISS docs]


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