Aquaporin Space Alliance ApS, a joint venture between Aquaporin A/S and Danish Aerospace Company (DAC), will test the Aquaporin Inside™ technology in space for the first time. The test of the new Biomimetic water filtration membranes will be performed by Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen during his 10 day stay on the International Space Station (ISS) in the beginning of September 2015.
The test setup hardware (named AquaMembrane) with the Aquaporin Inside™ membranes will be launched to ISS on September 2nd 2015 together with Andreas Mogensen in his Soyuz-TMA spacecraft from the Baikonur-cosmodrome in Kasakhstan.
Aquaporin Space Alliance ApS (ASA) has together with researches from NASA Ames Research Center in California devised a test setup for the Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen to test the Aquaporin Inside™ membrane in space.
Three identical sets of hardware are used to test the membranes on ISS. Here Andreas Mogensen will receive three bags of 300 ml with wastewater from the Space Station’s water recycling system. The content of each wastewater bag will be filtered through one of the Aquaporin Inside™ membrane assemblies.
“This flight experiment is an important step in the evolution of the International Space Station’s life support system to enable the future human exploration of our Solar System. The use of the Aquaporin biomimetic membrane provides an important step in the development of synthetic biological materials that improve the performance and reliability of life support systems by integrating the lessons learned from about a billion years of biological evolution on Earth”, says Michael Flynn, from NASA Ames Research center in California.
The patented membranes use aquaporin molecules for transport of water across the membrane. Aquaporins are Nature’s own water filters and facilitate rapid, highly selective water transport. The physiological importance of the aquaporins in humans is perhaps most conspicuous in the kidney, where approximately 150-200 liters of water are reabsorbed from primary urine each day. The Aquaporin Inside™ Membranes to be tested on ISS are hollow fiber membranes with an active area of 116 cm2.
“The fact that we now are ready with our pioneering Aquaporin Inside™ technology for testing in space, opens up a broad range of opportunities on earth as well. Aquaporin will be commercializing the Aquaporin Inside™ technology in close collaboration with our present and future strategic commercial partners in different earth bound applications in the coming years. We are ready for liftoff and look forward to end up amongst the stars”- says Peter Holme Jensen, CEO of Aquaporin.
After the tests, Andreas Mogensen will take a product sample from each of the three Membrane assemblies. These will, together with a sample of the original ISS waste water, be prepared for return to ground. The four samples will then be downloaded on a later space vehicle for detailed analysis.
“The ultimate goal is to use Aquaporin Inside™ membranes in the ISS water filtration system, where they can replace the present multi-filtration beds, which are very heavy and require frequent replacement. In addition, the Aquaporin Inside™ membranes can also be used in future water recirculation systems for a manned space vehicle to Mars.” - says Thomas A. E. Andersen, CEO of ASA.
The AquaMembrane hardware, utilizing the Aquaporin Inside™ technology has been shipped from Odense for launch from Baikonur, on the same Russian Soyuz vehicle that Danish Astronaut Andreas Mogensen will be flying to the ISS; the Soyuz-TMA spacecraft.
For further information:
CEO Thomas A. E. Andersen,
Danish Aerospace Company ApS
Aquaporin Space Alliance ApS
Phone +45 40 29 41 62
CEO Peter Holme Jensen,
Phone +45 27 10 20 75