Commercial Plant Biotechnology Facility (CPBF) - 07.29.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The Commercial Plant Biotechnology Facility (CPBF) is a fully automated facility that can be used to conduct plant bioscience research on the International Space Station. It occupies the lower half of the EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack and two International Subrack Interface Standard (ISIS) drawers, providing a large, enclosed, environmentally controlled chamber with two levels of containment.
Science Results for Everyone
University of Wisconsin at Madison, Wisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics, Madison, WI, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)
ISS Expedition Duration
Previous ISS Missions
The Commercial Plant Biotechnology Facility (CPBF) has not been used in microgravity.
- The purpose of the Commercial Plant Biotechnology Facility (CPBF) is to support long-term commercial and scientific plant research in a microgravity environment onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
- The chamber controls temperature, relative humidity, light intensity, atmospheric composition, and fluid nutrient delivery. In addition, the CPBF provides a pair of soft glove ports (single level of containment) to accommodate in-flight access to the experiment materials or samples or transfer of the materials or samples between the CPBF and other ISS facilities.
- The CPBF is designed to operate autonomously with state-of-the-art telescience and fault tolerance and recovery capabilities to increase overall system efficiency, reliability, robustness, and flexibility.
The CPBF growing space accommodates a shoot area of 2,443 cm2, a shoot height of 45 cm, a root area of 2443 cm2, and a root height of 5 cm. The CPBF has a method-active temperature control that uses thermoelectric coolers with a range of +15 to +40 °C and an accuracy of ±0.5 °C from the set point; temperature is uniform within ±1 °C in the plant canopy plane. Humidity is in the range of 35 to 95 percent relative humidity (RH) and is accurate within ±3 percent RH from the set point and uniform within ±5 percent RH in the plant canopy plane.
The CPBF uses high-intensity red (670 nm), blue (470 nm), and green (525 nm) light emitting diodes (LEDs) along with high-output fluorescent lights. The LEDs have an intensity of 0 to 900 mmol/m2/s for red, 0 to 120 mmol/m2/s for blue, and 0 to 120 mmol/m2s for green as measured at the bottom of the chamber; the fluorescent lights have an intensity of 450 mmol/m2/s as measured at the bottom of the chamber.
Water-nutrient delivery is performed by capillary mass transfer through a rooting matrix via porous materials. The control solution has a pH range of 4.5 to 7.5 ± 0.2. The atmospheric composition of the CPBF is 300 to 2000 ppm ± 50 ppm of carbon dioxide. The CPBF also includes an EXPRESS-rack-compatible data/video interface and allows for real-time data telemetry, remote commanding, and video (NTSC format) downlink. The Commercial Plant Biotechnology Facility (CPBF) requires International Space Station (ISS)-provided cooling water to dissipate the heat that it generates. The ISS crew will connect the EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack moderate temperature loop cooling water (one supply and one return) to the CPBF. The CPBF electrical interface is composed of a 28-Vdc EXPRESS power connector, data/video connector, and power switches that allow the crew to control power to the CPBF and its subsystems. The ISS crew will connect the CPBF power cable to the power connector on the EXPRESS rack front panel, connect the CPBF data/video cable to the data connector on the EXPRESS rack front panel, connect the sensor and control cables to the CPBF front panel and the International Subrack Interface Standard (ISIS) drawer front panel, and connect the air and water tubing according to the CPBF manual. The CPBF user interface is composed of a liquid crystal display (LCD) touch screen that allows the crew to monitor CPBF operating conditions, change the set points for chamber environmental conditions, and diagnose the problem if a malfunction occurs.
The CPBF provides one level of containment. Soft glove ports allow the crew to sample the plant materials from the chamber, and quick-disconnect ports allow the crew to take samples from the water and nutrient reservoirs.
- The Commercial Plant Biotechnology Facility (CPBF) will be installed in a designated EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack. International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers will connect the CPBF to the International Subrack Interface Standard (ISIS) drawer and to the EXPRESS rack panel.
- After making these connections, the ISS crewmembers will activate the CPBF and check the status as needed.
Ground Based Results Publications
The Commercial Plant Biotechnology Facility (CPBF) provides a large, enclosed, environmentally controlled plant growth chamber designed to support commercial and fundamental plant research onboard the International Space Station. Image courtesy of WSCAR.
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Soybean plants growing in the Commercial Plant Biotechnology Facility (CPBF) on Earth. Image courtesy of WSCAR.
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