Humidity and Temperature Control in the ASTROCULTURE™ Flight Experiment
The ASTROCULTURE™ (ASC) middeck flight experiment series was developed to test subsystems required to grow plants in reduced gravity, with the goal of developing a plant growth unit suitable for conducting quality biological research in microgravity. Previous Space Shuttle flights (STS-50 and STS-57) have successfully demonstrated the ability to control water movement through a particulate rooting matrix in microgravity and the ability of LED lighting systems to provide high levels of irradiance without excessive heat build-up in microgravity. The humidity and temperature control system used in the middeck flight unit is described in this paper. The system controls air flow and provides dehumidification, humidification, and condensate recovery for a plant growth chamber volume of 1450 cm3.