Redwire Corporation has declared its intention to send the “first private greenhouse” into orbit. According to a statement released by Redwire on August 16, the company intends to install the greenhouse on the International Space Station (ISS) starting in 2023. A contract for this purpose was signed with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the organization in charge of running the US laboratories on the ISS.
The project, according to the business, will provide crucial data for agricultural researchers on Earth, greatly enhancing humanity’s capacity to grow complete crops in space. Greenhouse project manager Dave Reed said in the statement that the greenhouse will enable crucial study into agricultural productivity in space as well as create prospects for scientific discovery to boost agricultural production on Earth.
The greenhouse is intended to act as a proving ground for food production in microgravity situations, which will be crucial for longer-duration manned trips in deep space in the future. According to project manager Dave Reed, “producing entire crops in space will be important for future space exploration missions, as plants supply food, oxygen, and water recovery.”
For the inaugural flight, Dewey Scientific, an agrotechnology solutions provider for the cannabis sector, will be Redwire’s client. Dewey Scientific will carry out a 60-day experiment during the trip in which industrial hemp will be grown in the greenhouse in order to analyze gene expression. The study will make it possible to look into the new facilities’ potential, show off their capabilities, and further biomedical and biofuels research.
The demonstration of a greenhouse in 2023 will also help to validate the idea behind greenhouse operations, as well as lighting, ventilation, and containment. Increased study on agricultural production in space will be crucial for the creation of key ideas for missions in NASA‘s Artemis program and beyond, Reed continued.
The orbital laboratory has previously housed agricultural production; for instance, in 2021, astronauts on board the station celebrated the New Year by consuming radishes cultivated there. The Advanced Plant Habitat (APH), a species grown in containers as part of the Plant Habitat-2 project, served as their initial breeding ground and harvesting location.
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