18 October 2018
The satellite integrated at the DLR Institute of Space Systems is specially packed for shipping.
Project Managers Hartmut Müller and Sebastian Kottmeier in the clean room at the DLR Institute of Space Systems, where the Eu:CROPIS satellite (seen in the background) was integrated.
The Eu:CROPIS satellite was flown to its California launch site packaged in a crate.
DLR staff push the transport crate containing the Eu:CROPIS satellite ready for loading at the airport.
In August 2018, DLR researchers tested the satellite's functionality in space inside a vacuum chamber at the DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
On Wednesday 17 October 2018, the German research satellite Eu:CROPIS left its manufacturing site, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Bremen. On board were 24 tomato seeds. The satellite – one metre in length and weighing 230 kilograms – made its way to the US Vandenberg Air Force Base in California via Frankfurt. The satellite is scheduled for launch into space on board a Space-X Falcon 9 rocket in November.
"We want to investigate how to create a breathable atmosphere and food for astronauts in space using their own waste," says Hartmut Müller, Project Manager for the satellite built at the DLR Institute of Space Systems. The aim is for astronauts to be self-sufficient during future space missions lasting several years. Until the launch, the tomato seeds will be in a semi-dormant state. Once in space, an automated system will provide them with water, fertiliser and light – "everything they need to grow," according to Müller. Rotation of the satellite will generate artificial gravity – first like the Moon and then that of Mars.
Even a satellite has to clear customs
Before departing, the satellite had to undergo a series of final tests. Right before loading, it was inspected by customs.
The DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne is responsible for the scientific leadership of the mission, which also expects insights into terrestrial applications, such as greenhouses in high-rise buildings ('vertical farms').
Last modified:24/10/2018 15:20:32