Closed, regenerative life support systems as envisioned for space exploration will be required to provide extraordinarily high levels of performance and reliability. Even in a minimum cost development scenario, they will be very expensive. Because presently employed space life support systems are familiar technology, there is danger that during the crucial early planning and conceptualization stages the complexity of the future closed life support system may be overlooked and that the challenge of its development may be underestimated. This expensive oversight could even persist into the early phases of system design, and the resulting consequences would be enormous.In this paper, the elements of our view of the optimal procedure for the development of the space exploration life support system (SELSS) are discussed, put into correct relative position and are related to anticipated potential problems in system development and operation. Formal definitions of the Management, Automation, and Control problems of the SELSS are included.