We made our first study regarding the possibility of a circular water system for long term missions in space in 1988. The study was commissioned by the Swedish Space Corporation for the European Space Agency. Now, after three decades of testing the final design is ready. However, it will be at least another decade before it can be launched on a three years mission to Mars. And we are working on it. Scarab has received a Seal of Excellence from EU:s program Horizon 2020SME for this product. It is now developed in the name of Hydromars.
A major challenge for the long-term space missions is the supply of water. Since refill of water is not possible at distant missions, complete regeneration of water is inevitable. Existing Water Recovery System (WRS) on International Space Station (ISS) only processes 74% of the total anticipated wastewater load on longer exploration missions. While more contaminated liquids require more advanced solutions. Meanwhile, the market for space exploration is rapidly developing and forecasts predict the space industry to grow to a trillion dollars by the 2040s.
On the request of the Swedish Space Agency in 1988, Scarab Development has reviewed all water technologies available for long term space missions. This was conducted in late twenties in co-operation with experts from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). In 2016 Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) conducted a study which reviewed the actual technology available at the International Space Station (ISS). The study concluded that the state-of-the-art technology would not be sufficient for travel in deep space. Moreover, it would be impossible to adapt this technology to the needs of travel in deep space and set out a ZLD resource recovery system.
As a result of co-operation with several research institutes and international corporations, Scarab has developed an entirely new separation technology for water treatment that is proven by several third-party tests to be more efficient in removal of any contaminants than any state-of-the-art technology. It has been shown that the technology can be used to treat any kind of feed to the highest purity with ZLD. This is exactly what is needed for extended stay in space.