Proposed Life Support System for the Botany Facility - A Payload of the European Retrievable Carrier to be flown with the Space Shuttle 840946

One of the Life Science Experiments planned to be flown with the European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) on board the Space Shuttle in the mid eighties is the Botany Facility. Purpose of that experiment is the study of physiological processes of higher plants and/or fungi over a time span of up to 6 months. This time interval will allow for selected species a complete seed-to-seed or spore-to-spore vegetation cycle.
In order to have a reference, a portion of the samples flown in the Botany Facility will be mounted on a centrifuge, creating an 1g-environment.
One of the major subsystems of the Botany Facility is the Life Support Subsystem in that it has to
  • maintain oxygen, nitrogen and carbondioxide partial pressure
  • control humidity
  • keep soil water content in limits
  • provide a ventilation system minimizing cross-contamination
The paper describes the various design options considered and discussses them in view of weight, complexity, critical components, compatibility with microgravity and cost.
The material presented in tile paper was prepared during a phase A study sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA).


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