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Technical Paper

Testing of the Prototype Plant Research Unit Subsystems

The Plant Research Unit (PRU) is currently under development by the Space Station Biological Research Project (SSBRP) team at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) with a scheduled launch in 2001. The goal of the project is to provide a controlled environment that can support seed-to-seed and other plant experiments for up to 90 days. This paper describes testing conducted on the major PRU prototype subsystems. Preliminary test results indicate that the prototype subsystem hardware can meet most of the SSBRP science requirements within the Space Station mass, volume, power and heat rejection constraints.
Technical Paper

Options for Transpiration Water Removal in a Crop Growth System Under Zero Gravity Conditions

The operation of a crop growth system in micro-gravity is an important part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Closed Ecological Life Support System development program. Maintaining densely arrayed plants in a closed environment imposed to induce high growth rates must be expected to result in substantial levels of water transpiration rate. Since the environmental air is recirculated, the transpiration water must be removed. In an operating CELSS, it is expected that this water will provide potable water for use of the crew. There is already considerable knowledge about water removal from crew environmental air during orbital and transfer activities, and the difference between the conditions of the described requirement and the conditions for which experience has been gained is the quantities involved and the reliability implications due to the required periods of operation.
Technical Paper

Generation of a Modeling and Simulation System for a Semi-Closed Plant Growth Chamber

The fluid and thermal dynamics of the environment of plants in a small controlled-environment system have been modeled. The results of the simulation under two scenarios have been compared to measurements taken during tests on the actual system. The motivation for the modeling effort and the status of the modeling exercise and system scenario studies are described. An evaluation of the model and a discussion of future studies are included.