Lockheed's Controlled Ecological Life Support System Test Bed (CTB) 951710
Regenerative life support is considered a key enabling technology for the human exploration of space. Without regeneration, the cost of supplying the materials necessary to sustain human life escalates so rapidly that manned space flight becomes uneconomical for all but short, near-Earth missions. One of the methods for providing regenerative life support utilizes a Controlled Ecological Life Support System, or CELSS. To accomplish this regeneration, the CELSS must incorporate technologies for food production, food processing, atmospheric revitalization, water purification, trace contaminant control, and waste processing. Many experiments have been conducted to characterize the performance of individual CELSS subsystems (e.g., plant growth, waste processing). However, very little research has been done to define the performance and operational aspects of CELSS technology at the overall system level.