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Scientists and payload developers can get more information on International Space Station research facilities by contacting the ISS Payloads Office or at 281-244-6187.

Astro Garden (Astro_Garden)


Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

Facility Overview

This content was provided by Thomas M. Crabb, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Facility Summary

The Astro Garden, used in the Educational Payload Operations - Kit C Plant Growth Chambers (EPO-Kit C), is a small, unpowered chamber used for growing plants in microgravity. Plants are grown from seeds that have been preplanted in a plastic root module; the shoots are contained within a flexible bellows.

Facility Manager(s)

  • Thomas M. Crabb, Orbital Technologies Corporation, Madison, WI, United States
  • Co-Facility Manager(s)

    Information Pending

    Facility Developer(s)

    Orbital Technologies Corporation, Madison, WI, United States

    Sponsoring Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Expeditions Assigned


    Previous ISS Missions

    ISS Expedition 15 was the first mission for the Astro Garden.

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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    • The Astro Garden uses the attraction of space flight to capture the interest of students and motivate them to consider careers in science, mathematics, technology, engineering, and geography. In addition, the plants that are grown provide a sense of relaxation and creation and can be eaten to supplement the crew's diet.

    • Crewmembers maintain the plants and capture still images of the plants' growth. After the initial mission, the chambers can be reused at the crew's discretion.


    The Astro Garden is a small plant package consisting of three separate components: the growth chambers, the syringe, and five drink bags. The growth chamber is the primary element of the package and consists of a root module assembly to house the seed and hold the plants in place, a root-shoot barrier to contain the root medium, and an expandable bellows assembly to contain the plant while allowing light to reach it. The drink bags are filled from an on-orbit water supply, while the syringe provides the ability to add water to the root module. Once the water is added, the growth chamber is placed near an existing crew lighting source that will provide the illumination necessary for growth. The hardware can be used multiple times in on-orbit missions without refurbishment. Additional growth chambers can easily be supplied to support future missions.

    The Astro Garden measures 17.8 cm x 10.1 cm x 5 cm collapsed and 17.8 cm x 10.1 cm x 25.4 cm fully extended. It weighs 0.337 kg and requires no power.

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    Facility Operations

    The Astro Garden is sent into microgravity dry and containing preplanted seeds; it can remain in stowage on orbit for several months prior to experiment initialization. To initiate the experiment, water is added to the root module using the syringe, and the chamber is placed near an existing light source. Crewmembers add water as needed, observe the growth, and eventually harvest the plants.

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

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  • Operated on ISS
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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites
  • Orbitec
  • NIH BioMed-ISS Meeting, 2009—Astro_Garden
  • NIH BioMed-ISS Meeting Video Presentation, 2009—Astro_Garden
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    image NASA Image: ISS015E23475 - View of plant growth in an Astro Garden collapsible growth chamber used in the Education Payload Operations (EPO) - Kit C experiment. The experiment took place in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny, during ISS Expedition 15.
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    Information provided by the investigation team to the ISS Program Scientist's Office.
    If updates are needed to the summary please contact JSC-ISS-Program-Science-Group. For other general questions regarding space station research and technology, please feel free to call our help line at 281-244-6187 or e-mail at JSC-ISS-Payloads-Helpline.