AG-Pod - The Integration of Existing Technologies for Efficient, Affordable Space Flight Agriculture 1999-01-2176
Technology for microgravity plant growth has matured to a level which allows detailed gravitational plant biology and commercial plant biotechnology studies. Consequently, plants have been shown to adapt to the space flight environment, which validates their use in advanced life support applications. However, the volume available for plant growth inside pressurized modules is severely constrained, both in present and future spacecraft. Furthermore, the required power and heat rejection associated with the artificial lighting on existing systems, and the resulting weight and volume increases, affect the viability of these systems for life support. The Autonomous Garden Pod (AG-Pod), an inflatable module specifically for plants, resides outside the habitable modules and uses passive solar illumination. It’s based on existing technologies including flight-proven plant growth subsystems, commercial satellite thermal systems, and off-the-shelf inflatable technology. AG-Pod will support low Earth orbit as well as planetary missions, including transit and surface operations.