Food Production in Space - Operating a Greenhouse in Low Earth Orbit
SpaceOps 2016 Conference
Eu:CROPIS (Euglena and Combined Regenerative Organic-Food Production in Space) is a biological life support mission scheduled for launch in 2017 on-board a Falcon 9 rocket. The spin stabilized satellite will be operated under different levels of acceleration to investigate the growth of tomatoes under simulated Mars and Moon gravity. It comprises two pressurized greenhouses, which are rotated around the spacecraft longitudinal axis, a radiation detector and a secondary payload from NASA AMES
... earch center. Each greenhouse compartment will be operated for 6 months at different rotational speed in order to simulate different gravitational forces. Special care has to be taken in the design and the operations of Eu:CROPIS because biological processes may not be disturbed during spacecraft anomalies, and stable thermal conditions and lighting cycles must be assured. The 250 kg satellite is built by the DLR Institute for Space Systems and will be operated by the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) -another DLR institution. This allows an exceptionally close cooperation between the operations team and the spacecraft manufacturer. Decisions can be made together on whether a technical solution is to be implemented within the space segment or the ground segment. This approach minimizes the overall mission costs and maximizes the scientific output. Operational benefits arise from the on-board data handling, which permits the re-use of existing mission planning systems and minimizes adjustments to the mission control and data system. Additionally, an experimental but more powerful downlink mode may be used operationally after successful checkout, which could reduce the downlink time and related costs. This paper gives an overview of the operations concept including LEOP and routine operations, data dissemination and the interfaces to the user segment. It will also describe the technical innovations that have been made in the ground segment to avoid additional effort on the space segment. A new application was developed and added to the Central Checkout System, and is being used for Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) as well as for the development of flight control procedures.