Air Management System of a Greenhouse Module for Space Applications

Erik Mazzoleni

EnginSoft SpA


To increase the possibilities of human exploration of space, the development of bio-regenerative life support systems is essential: in this contest a greenhouse module becomes a fundamental part within every concept of stable and independent base for future space missions. In particular this work is focused on the definition of the air management system of a greenhouse module for a lunar base. This activity is a part of the feasibility study “Greenhouse Module for Space System” which has been developed in close collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and it is embedded in the MELiSSA framework of ESA research projects.

The essential task of the air management system is to control the air composition (O2 and CO2 concentration), pressure, temperature and humidity within the greenhouse: this is necessary to allow an adequate growth of the cultivated plants. To reach this aim a particular attention is paid to the definition and characterization of different components for the air treatment and water recovery: filters, dehumidifier, heat exchangers, fans, dampers, sensor packages and UV sterilizers.

All these parts are combined together with ducts and grids to complete the design of air loop. The efficiency of the air distribution system is finally checked using CFD analyses.