The different advances in the Micro Ecological Life Support System Alternative project (MELISSA), fostered and coordinated by the European Space Agency, as well as in other associated technologies, are integrated and demonstrated in the MELISSA Pilot Plant laboratory. During the first period of operation, the definition of the different compartments at an individual basis has been achieved, and the complete facility is being re-designed to face a new period of integration of all these compartments. The final objective is to demonstrate the potentiality of biological systems such as MELISSA as life support systems. The facility will also serve as a test bed to study the robustness and stability of the continuous operation of a complex biological system. This includes testing of the associated instrumentation and control for a safe operation, characterization of the chemical and microbial safety of the system, as well as tracking the genetic stability of the microbial strains used. The new period is envisaged as a contribution to the further development of more complete biological life support systems for long-term manned missions, that should be better defined from the knowledge to be gained from this integration phase. This contribution summarizes the current status of the Pilot Plant and the planned steps for the new period. © 2004 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Advanced life support systems
- Integration test bed
- MELISSA pilot plant facility