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Autonomous cultivation system for nano platforms: the GreenCube mission

TitleAutonomous cultivation system for nano platforms: the GreenCube mission
Publication TypePresentazione a Congresso
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsMarzioli, Paolo, Boscia Michela, Kumar Sidhant, Moretti Alessandro, Frezza Lorenzo, Amadio Diego, Gugliermetti Luca, Nardi Luca, Pannico Antonio, Benvenuto Eugenio, del Bianco Marta, De Pascale Stefania, Mari Silvia, Mascetti Gabriele, Piergentili Fabrizio, Impresario Gabriele, and Santoni Fabio
Conference NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF

The growing interest in long-term space exploration missions targeting permanent bases on Moon and Mars requires the development of technologies for in autonomous production of nutrients, food and resources to support human life in outer space. In this framework, “ready to fly” experiments hostable in small satellite platforms can greatly support the ongoing research on the optimization of human nutrition and space cultivation. The GreenCube mission is a 3U CubeSat project developed thanks to the collaboration between the S5Lab (Sapienza Space Systems and Space Surveillance Laboratory) research group and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), with the participation of the ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) and the University of Naples Federico II (Department of Agricultural Sciences). The mission is aimed at demonstrating the functionalities of an autonomous miniaturized cultivation system on-board a CubeSat platform. Two units of the CubeSat ( 200x100x100 mm) will be dedicated to the cultivation of microgreens. In this cultivation unit, a variety of low-cost technologies will assure pressurization and air pressure monitoring, air composition sensing, temperature monitoring and control, water and nourishment management, circadian cycles reproduction and cultivar monitoring through optical sensors. The majority of these components are based on Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware that have been prototyped and qualified for space. The mission has been developed and qualified for spaceflight between 2020 and 2022, and it has been launched on-board the maiden Vega-C flight in mid-2022. More than 10 growth experiments have been performed during the functional tests in order to assure the well-functioning of the payload unit. If successful, the demonstration conducted by GreenCube will suggest a further implementation of the same cultivation unit design for further in-orbit experiments. This paper will deal with the GreenCube satellite design and qualification, as well as with the implemented technologies on-board the CubeSat. After an introductive section related to the mission, the payload, bus and interfaces design will be described, an overview on the functional and environmental tests will be provided and future perspectives for the developed units will be presented. Copyright © 2022 by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). All rights reserved.

Citation KeyMarzioli2022