Bio-regenerative life support systems for space surface applications

P. D. Sadler, G. Giacomelli, R. L. Patterson, M. Kacira, R. Furfaro, C. Lobascio, G. Boscheri, M. Lamantea, L. Grizzaffi, S. Rossignoli, M. Pirolli, S. DePascale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


Bio-regenerative Life Support Systems (BLSS) is the application of biological based processes to support an astronaut crew in space, including atmosphere revitalization, water recycling, food production, and organic waste recycling. Future long term lunar/Mars surface missions will require a high degree of redundancy with dissimilar systems for crew safety. The use of BLSS in conjunction with physicochemical life support systems offers a dissimilar system redundancy with the ability to operate in concert with PC systems as required. The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (UA-CEAC), UA-Systems and Industrial Engineering Department, Sadler Machine Company, Thales Alenia Space-Italia, Aero-Sekur, SpA, and University of Naples Federico II are teamed in a U.S.-Italian collaborative effort to develop BLSS for future space surface missions. Current efforts supported by NASA's Ralph Steckler Phase I Space Grant as described in this paper includes operation of one of four units of the UA-CEAC prototype Lunar Greenhouse (LGH), a closed system study for crop production, water recycling, atmosphere revitalization, and labor analysis. It targets NASA's estimated biomass production levels to support a single crew member with 100% of their water/atmosphere recycling, and 50% of the total food intake (~1000 kcal). Generally, earlier BLSS efforts generated crop production data based on mono-culture cropping. The LGH is capable of simultaneously growing a diverse number of cultivars (poly-culture) which better represents the proposed crew diet. Utilizing Poly-culture crop production will impact earlier BLSS models that are based on mono-culture crop production and the LGH Poly-culture results will build upon these earlier BLSS models and improve their overall accuracy. TAS-I efforts with support from Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (Italian Space Agency), includes operation of Recyclab advanced life support laboratory and implementation of the Modified Energy Cascade (MEC) plant growth model. The collaborative efforts of the Italian and U.S. teams ultimately will target the development of an advanced BLSS model for space surface mission planners to utilize in the establishment of a sustained presence on the lunar/Martian surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication41st International Conference on Environmental Systems 2011, ICES 2011
PublisherAIAA International
ISBN (Print)9781600869488
StatePublished - 2011
Event41st International Conference on Environmental Systems 2011, ICES 2011 - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jul 17 2011Jul 21 2011

Publication series

Name41st International Conference on Environmental Systems 2011, ICES 2011


Conference41st International Conference on Environmental Systems 2011, ICES 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPortland, OR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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