NASA’s “Recycling in Space” Challenge: Winners Announced!

NASA recycling in space challenge banner

For a mission lasting one year, a team of four astronauts would generate approximately 2,500 kilograms of waste. The aim of this Challenge was to identify receptacle and feeder mechanisms suitable for a microgravity environment that can deliver mission waste to a high temperature reactor that can recycle astronaut waste into valuable substances (water, gases & solids).

The NASA experts evaluated submissions on several criteria, one of the most important being the proposed mechanism must operate without relying on gravity. The proposals had to take power, space, sound and crew safety concerns into account, while meeting certain levels of performance.

Thanks to NineSigma’s global reach, NASA selected three winners from Romania, the United States and Egypt.

  • Aurelian Zapciu, Romania – $10,000 for first place, Waste Pre-Processing Unit
  • Derek McFall, United States – $2,500 for second place, Microgravity Waste Management System
  • Ayman Ragab Ahmed Hamdallah, Egypt – $2,500 for second place, Trash-Gun (T-Gun)

Paul Hintze, a chemist with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Exploration Research and Technology Programs and a judge for the competition, said “The challenge produced ideas that were innovative and that we had not yet considered. I look forward to further investigating these ideas and hope they will contribute to our human spaceflight missions.”

To learn more about the winners, visit the Challenge website on NineSights and NASA’s announcement.


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