Advanced Plant Habitat (Plant Habitat) - 02.20.19

Summary | Overview | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Advanced Plant Habitat (Plant Habitat) is a fully automated facility that is used to conduct plant bioscience research on the International Space Station (ISS). It occupies the lower half of the EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Rack and one powered International Subrack Interface Standard (ISIS) drawer, providing a large, enclosed, environmentally controlled chamber.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by , and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Facility Details

OpNom: Plant Habitat

Facility Manager(s)
Information Pending

Facility Representative(s)
Nicole F. Dufour, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL, United States

NASA Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL, United States
Sierra Nevada Corporation, Madison, WI, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
NASA Research Office - Space Life and Physical Sciences (NASA Research-SLPS)

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2017 - October 2018; March 2019 - April 2020

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

Information Pending

^ back to top

Facility Description

Facility Overview

The Advanced Plant Habitat (Plant Habitat) provides a large, enclosed, environmentally controlled chamber designed to support commercial and fundamental plant research or other bioscience research on board the International Space Station (ISS) for at least one year of continuous operation with only consumable maintenance. It is configured as a quad-locker payload to be mounted in a standard EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack. The Plant Habitat integrates proven microgravity plant growth technologies with newly developed fault tolerance and recovery technology to increase overall efficiency, reliability, and robustness. In addition, a window is provided for the crew to view the progress of the plants while maintaining the single level of containment. The design is based on an open architecture concept to allow critical subsystems to be removed and replaced on board the ISS.
The Plant Habitat is equipped with over 180 calibrated sensors to ensure the system functions autonomously using a pre-programmed experimental design that provides a suitable growth environment (e.g. temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide level, light intensity and spectral quality) for plant investigations up to 135 days.
The Plant Habitat growing space accommodates a shoot area of 1708 cm2, a shoot height of 43 cm, a root area of 1853 cm2, and a root height of 5 cm. The Plant Habitat has an active temperature control system that uses thermoelectric coolers to heat and cool the air inside the shoot zone within a range of +18 to +30°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 50 to 90 percent relative humidity (RH) and is accurate within ±3 percent RH from the set point.  In the shoot zone, the Plant Habitat provides sensor capability to measure light levels in the photosythetically active and the red/far red range and the ability to measure the surface temperature of a plant canopy or other sample surface.  In the root zone, the standard Plant Habitat science platform provides a variety of sensing capabilities that include: temperature, moisture levels and oxygen content.
The Plant Habitat uses high-intensity red (0-600 µmol m-2 s-1 at 630-660 nm ±10 nm), blue (0-400 µmol m-2 s-1 at 400-500 nm ±10 nm), green (0-100 µmol m-2 s-1 at 525 nm ±10 nm), broad spectrum white (0-600 µmol m-2 s-1 at 400-700 nm), and far-red (0-50 µmol m-2 s-1 at 730-750 nm ±10 nm) light.
Water-nutrient delivery is performed by active transfer through a rooting matrix via porous tubes. The atmospheric composition of the Plant Habitat is 400 to 5,000 ppm ± 50 ppm of carbon dioxide. The Plant Habitat includes a data/photo interface compatible with the EXPRESS Rack and allows for real-time data telemetry, remote commanding, and photo downlink.

^ back to top


Facility Operations

  • The Plant Habitat is installed in a designated EXPRESS Rack. ISS crew members connect the Plant Habitat to the ISIS drawer and to the EXPRESS Rack panel to use four 28 VDC power channels, one data channel, moderate temperature cooling loop, gaseous nitrogen, and the internal AAA fans.
  • After making these connections, the ISS crew members activate the Plant Habitat and check the status as needed on the front panel of the payload and/or through the Plant Habitat software that is loaded on Express Rack Laptop Computer (ELC).

^ back to top

Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

^ back to top
Results/More Information

Information Pending

Results Publications

^ back to top

Ground Based Results Publications

^ back to top

ISS Patents

^ back to top

Related Publications

^ back to top

Related Websites

^ back to top


The Advanced Plant Habitat (Plant Habitat) facility provides a large, enclosed, environmentally controlled plant growth chamber designed to support fundamental plant research onboard the International Space Station. Image courtesy of NASA.

+ View Larger Image

Plant Habitat at a glance.

+ View Larger Image