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Commercial Applications of Space Technology

Atsushi Ishizuka, Director, Industrial Collaboration Department

Organic Waste Recycling System is one of JAXA's challenging projects. Using space technology, JAXA is trying to develop an garbage disposal system, which could be applied to environmentally friendly recycling on the earth of organic waste materials -such as food waste, livestock manure. It is hard to imagine a garbage disposal system to be based on the space technology, but they are related as a matter of fact.

The International Space Station (ISS) would require about 11 tons of food, water and oxygen per person per year, with a considerable amount of transportation costs. A project was started to reduce these costs by realizing a self-sufficient recycling system within the ISS module of waste products such as excrement, carbon dioxide and waste water. Theoretically, it could be possible to recycle water and oxygen, and only food would need to be transported to the ISS. JAXA has developed and patented the advanced wet-oxidation waste management technology, which resolves organic waste into an inorganic solution and carbon dioxide; water purification technology that uses adsorbents and reverse osmosis membranes; and carbon dioxide reduction technology that produces methane and water from carbon dioxide.

Organic Waste Recycling System
Organic Waste Recycling System

It is called "Spin-Off" to apply space technologies to non-space industries. JAXA's responsibility includes contributing the outcome of research and development activities to society, and plays a very important role in industrial collaboration. Overseas space agencies - the European Space Agency and NASA - have also recognized the significance of spin-off technology, and their spin-off technologies with their inventions have been used for such things as fireproof and heat-resistant clothing, and sporting goods.

Ishizuka photo

International Space Station (ISS)

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