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Preparing for Veg-04 and Veg-05: Improving Pick-And-Eat Food Capabilities for the International Space StationThe capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health-promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration missions. Studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in space. Researchers from Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center, Purdue University and ORBITEC have teamed up to explore the potential for plant growth and food production on the International Space Station (ISS) and future exploration missions. Ground testing of Chinese cabbage and dwarf tomato crops under different LED lighting and fertilizer conditions is being conducted to allow for a preliminary down selection of the two best lighting recipes and the best fertilizer treatment. Two trials of Chinese cabbage and one trial on dwarf tomato have been completed in on-going ground tests. Horticultural data on crop growth and productivity and chemical data on specific nutrients have been collected and are being analyzed to allow preliminary down selection. Taste test evaluations are planned on the preliminary down selection treatments to allow a final down selection for flight testing. Microbial assessment for hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP) evaluation is also underway to enable implementation of food consumption. Following down selection flight preparation will commence for testing these crops in the Veggie vegetable-production system on the ISS. A crew questionnaire has been developed to better understand the impact of crop growth in Veggie on crew behavioral health. A single Veggie plant growth chamber is currently installed on ISS, and preparations are underway to launch a second Veggie, allowing side-by-side testing under different lighting conditions. Veg-04 will be the first mission that will use this dual-Veggie capability, where the selected cultivar of Tokyo bekana Chinese cabbage will be grown under two different red-to-blue light ratios. ORBITEC has developed custom lighting software allowing independent selection of red and blue light levels. The VEG-05 experiment will test similar light treatments using Red Robin dwarf tomato. These tests offer an opportunity to develop a pick-and-eat fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to regular supplemental food production. Our work will help define light colors, levels, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. With this work we will continue the synergistic research to help close gaps in the human research roadmap, and enable humans to venture to Mars and beyond. This research was co-funded by the Human Research Program and Space Biology (MTL1075) in the ILSRA 2015 NRA call.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Kennedy Space Center
Document Type
Massa, G. D.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
Wheeler, R. M.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
Romeyn, M. W.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Hummerick, M. E.
(Vencore Services and Solutions, Inc. Kennedy Space Center, FL, United States)
Spencer, L. E.
(Vencore Services and Solutions, Inc. Kennedy Space Center, FL, United States)
Morrow, R. C.
(Orbital Technologies Corp. Madison, WI, United States)
Mitchell, C. A.
(Purdue Univ. West Lafayette, IN, United States)
Burgner, S.
(Purdue Univ. West Lafayette, IN, United States)
Williams, T. J.
(Wyle Life Sciences, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Young, M. H.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Douglas, G. L.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
January 24, 2017
Publication Date
January 23, 2017
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Human Research Program Investigators'' Workshop (HRP IWS 2017)
Location: Galveston, TX
Country: United States
Start Date: January 23, 2017
End Date: January 26, 2017
Sponsors: NASA Headquarters
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
International Space Station
Food Production
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