Oxygen Generating System activated onboard ISS

by Chris Bergin

The new Oxygen Generating System (OGS) has been turned on inside the US Destiny module on the International Space Station (ISS), doubling the provision of oxygen that will support a future six member crew on the station.

Despite a hiccup, believed to be caused by debris in the external vent valve, the new system was successfully activated by US astronaut and Expedition 15 crewmember Clay Anderson.

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The OGS is a welcome addition to oxygen generation, alongside the troublesome Elekron system located inside the Russian Zvezda module – which has had periods of downtime due to technical problems over the past year.

Wednesday’s activities saw Anderson power up the OGS for a leak check, marking its official activation, which will see the device electrolyze water the from the Water Recovery System to produce oxygen and hydrogen – the latter being vented into space.

‘Anderson supported the ongoing activation of the new OGS (Oxygen Generation System) in the US Lab by installing an H2 (hydrogen) sensor and configuring the OGS rack,’ noted the latest On Orbit Status Report – uploaded daily on L2.

‘Subsequent activities are being performed via S-band/telemetry commanding from the ground: powering up the rack, configuring the software and testing the watchdog timer, followed by several hours of activation and checkout.’

The activation took place following the EVA during last month’s STS-117, which saw the last piece of the puzzle – the installation of the hydrogen vent valve – being completed. Ironically, that vent valve caused a slight problem during activation.

‘Activities came to a temporary halt early in the checkout when the pressure sensor indicated decreasing H2 dome pressure,’ added the report. ‘I.e., a small leak probably due to debris in the external vent valve.

‘Activation proceeded nominally when the dome had passed a 20-min leak test after recycling the new H2 vent valve.’

The OGS arrived at the Station during shuttle Discovery’s visit on STS-121 – the second post-Columbia Return To Flight mission – in July, 2006. It was carried inside the Italian-built multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo.

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