Description of Concept and First Feasibility Test Results of a Life Support Subsystem of the BOTANY FACILITY Based on Water Reclamation 851397

The BOTANY FACILITY allows the growth of higher plants and fungi over a period of 6 months maximum. It is a payload planned for the second flight of the EURECA platform around 1990.
Major tasks of the Life Support Subsystem (LSS) of the BOTANY FACILITY include the control of the pressure and composition of the atmosphere within the plant/fungi growth chambers, control of the temperature and humidity of the air and the regulation of the soil water content within specified limits.
Previous studies have shown that various LSS concepts are feasible ranging from heavy, simple and cheap to light, complex and expensive solutions. In the first part of the paper a summary of those concepts is given. In the second part a new approach to accomplish control of the temperature and humidity of the air within the growth chambers is described which is based on water reclamation. This reclamation is achieved by condensation with a heat pump and capillary transport of the condensate back into the soil of the individual growth chamber.
Part three provides some analytical estimates in order to obtain guidelines for circulation flow rates and to determine the specific power consumption.
The design of a water reclamation module is described in part four while the test hardware is illustrated in part five. Part six describes the test set-up while in the seventh and last part of the paper the test results are summarized and discussed.


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