Bioregenerative Planetary Life Support Systems Test Complex (BIO-Plex): Progress to Date 2001-01-2317
The BIO-Plex is a key component in the testing capability of NASA’s Advanced Life Support (ALS) Program. BIO-Plex will serve as a test facility capable of supporting long duration evaluations of integrated systems that produce food, purify water, regenerate oxygen, and supply clean air to human test crews. The major test facility is comprised of a set of interconnected chambers with a sealed internal environment, which will be capable of supporting test crews of four individuals for periods exceeding one year. In this tightly controlled, closed loop system, hypogravity compatible life support systems for use on planetary surfaces such as Mars or the Moon will be evaluated during long duration tests with human subjects inside the BIO-Plex at Johnson Space Center (JSC). The main focus of BIO-Plex is to provide a platform with which to integrate current and future regenerable systems technologies, test these technologies with humans in-the-loop, and ultimately maximize their efficiency, reliability, and effectiveness. The advanced technology systems to be tested will consist of both biological and physicochemical components and will perform all required crew life support functions. This paper provides a description of the proposed test “missions” to be supported by the BIO-Plex and the current status of the design and build-up of the facility.