Evaluation of bio-regenerative life support systems in the frame of a concurrent international cooperation

Giorgio Boscheri, Roberto Furfaro, Gene Giacomelli, Lucia Grizzaffi, Murat Kacira, Matteo Lamantea, Cesare Lobascio, Lane Patterson, Phil Sadler

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

4 Scopus citations


With concurrent interests on Bio-regenerative Life Support Systems (BLSS), Italian and USA industrial and academic institutions, including Thales Alenia Space Italia (TAS-I), the University of Arizona (UA) and the Sadler Machine Company have teamed in a collaboration effort. The collaboration has been providing personnel exchanges, sharing accumulated experiences and complementary competencies to establish synergies in the multi-disciplinary field of BLSS. The initial phase has linked aerospace engineering and system design competences together with other professional fields of plant sciences, controlled environment production systems, mathematical modeling and computational analysis. The overriding theme of our activities is the successful crop production, with effective resources utilization, such that sufficient edible biomass will be continuously provided to supply the desired percentage of the crew food calories from the system. The focus is mainly with crops targeted for space such as lettuce, sweet potato and tomato. Using available data and existing models, crop production studies have been designed and implemented to achieve production results within a semi-closed structure that will be useful for correlation studies, as well as for strengthening the experiences with an operational prototype BLSS. While the EDEN controlled plant growth chamber sited at TAS-I Recyclab has been operated to focus TAS-I engineers attention on the critical physical and biological aspects on a small scale demonstrator, the 22 m3 Lunar Greenhouse (LGH) Prototype, sited at the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at the University of Arizona (UA), has been upgraded and prepared for 9- months of extensive utilization, supported by the NASA Steckler Space Grant (Phase 1, January - October 2010). Data will be evaluated within a TAS-I implemented model for the plant-life-support element, based on the NASA Modified Energy Cascade (MEC) Model for Crop Growth19,21. Testing is in progress and data acquisition, management, utilization and improvements of the models will be completed. The subsequent system simulations will be used for developing future designs of such facilities. This paper describes the collaboration, focusing on the available facilities improvement, the definition of the data gathering, storage and elaboration strategies, the discussion of the preliminary results achieved and the illustration of the forthcoming activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication40th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES 2010
StatePublished - 2010
Event40th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES 2010 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Jul 11 2010Jul 15 2010

Publication series

Name40th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES 2010


Other40th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering


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