Plant Research Unit – Program Overview 2001-01-2230
The Plant Research Unit development effort will provide a high-performance and highly versatile, controlled environment plant growth chamber for space-based variable gravity science and biotechnology investigations on the International Space Station. Temperature, humidity, atmospheric composition, lighting, and nutrient delivery are the critical parameters to control in an automated and reliable way. Access to plant material on-orbit and maintenance of the unit with minimal crew effort are other major requirements, as is a modular design allowing easy subsystem/technology change-outs so that science capability and maintainability are maximized.
The Plant Research Unit (PRU) development program is based on the results of the Biomass Production System (BPS) and many other technical developments, and uses the BPS as a risk mitigation prototype for the PRU. Taking advantage of the significant team experience and learning gained in developing the BPS, several innovative improvements to plant growth chamber and environmental control design have been incorporated into the PRU.