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uG-LilyPond - Floating Plant Pond for Microgravity

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX17CK14P
Agency Tracking Number: 170124
Amount: $124,774.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T7.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-06-09
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-06-08
Small Business Information
PO Box 448
Pinecliffe, CO 80471-9902
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Christine Escobar
 Principal Investigator
 (720) 309-8475
Business Contact
 Christine Escobar
Title: Business Official
Phone: (720) 309-8475
Research Institution
 The Regents of the University of Colorado
 April Laliberte
3100 Marine Street, 572 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0572
United States

 (303) 492-2677
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

The proposed μG-LilyPond is an autonomous environmentally controlled floating plant cultivation system for use in microgravity. The μG-LilyPond concept expands the types of crops that can be grown on a spacecraft in a flexible, efficient, low maintenance package. The μG-LilyPond features several innovations relative to state of the art, including passive water and nutrient delivery to floating plants, volume efficiency, minimal time for maintenance, full life-cycle (seed to seed) support, and crop flexibility. Small floating macrophytes like Duckweed and Azolla are 100% edible (with no inedible biomass), nutritious (high in protein), exceptionally fast growing, and able to thrive in nutrient rich wastewater. The μG-LilyPond concept aims to maximize production of these tiny plants in a very small volume, for use as a crew dietary supplement, atmospheric revitalization component (CO2 reduction to O2), and potentially a metabolic wastewater treatment facility. The goal of this Phase I project is to develop a conceptual design for a reliable, flexible, and efficient floating plant production system for use in microgravity. Phase 1 Objectives are to 1. Determine feasibility of passive water delivery to floating aquatic plants in microgravity; 2. Determine feasibility for continuous autonomous biomass harvest and water (effluent) extraction; 3. Determine feasibility of autonomous floating plant propagation; 4. Define autonomous environmental monitoring and control methods to support candidate crops; 5. Estimate cultivation system efficiency, in terms of production capacity versus equivalent system mass; and 6. Plan for future development of a fully functional flight unit. This collaborative effort between Space Lab Technologies, LLC and the Bioastronautics research group from the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department will combine modeling, analysis, and engineering to demonstrate technology feasibility.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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