Apparently astronauts want to breathe. In their mad quest for air, the astronauts on board the International Space Station activated the new US-built oxygen generation system, designed to assist the intermittent Russian Elektron system.
The new oxygen generation system (or OGS) was turned on for the first time on Wednesday. Although there were a few glitches in the beginning, it’s been running fine today, and should start producing oxygen later today.
The OGS is capable of producing between 5 and 9 kgs(12 and 20 pounds) of oxygen a day. That much won’t be needed today, with only three crew members on board the station, but it’ll be critical when it has the full complement of six astronauts on board.
One of the OGS’ advantages is that it uses a solid polymer to assist the electrolysis of water into hydrogen and oxygen. The Russian system uses a liquid called potassium hydroxide. It turns out that this liquid had flowed around inside the Elektron, and clogged up one of the hydrogen valves, disabling it.
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Original Source: NASA News Release