The Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) program is evaluating higher plants as a means of providing life support functions aboard space craft. These plant systems will be capable of regenerating air and water while meeting some of the food requirements of the crew. In order to grow plants in space, a series of systems are required to provide the necessary plant support functions. Some of the systems required for CELSS experiments are such that it is likely that existing technologies will require refinement, or novel technologies will need to be developed. To evaluate and test these technologies, a series of KC-135 precursor flights are being proposed. A general purpose free floating experiment platform is being developed to allow the KC-135 flights to be used to their fullest.
This paper will outline the basic design for the CELSS Free Floating Test Bed (FFTB), and the requirements for the individual subsystems. Several preliminary experiments suitable for the free floater will also be discussed.