Inaugural commercial space greenhouse could be in orbit as early as 2023.
Redwire Corporation recently announced its plan to develop the sole commercially owned and managed spaceflight-qualified plant growth platform in space able to grow plants from seed to maturity, according to a release.
The platform is set to launch in space no earlier than the spring of 2023. Redwire Greenhouse will act as the first commercially owned greenhouse positioned on the International Space Station (ISS).
Dewey Scientific, a commercial agricultural technology company, is Redwire’s first presumed customer for the inaugural flight. The platform will provide valuable insights for crop scientists and enhance the capability to grow full crops in space, believes Redwire.
“Redwire Greenhouse will expand opportunities for scientific discovery to improve crop production on Earth and enable critical research for crop production in space to benefit future long-duration human spaceflight,” said Dave Reed, Florida Launch Site Operations director and Greenhouse project manager at Redwire. “Growing full crops in space will be critical to future space exploration missions as plants provide food, oxygen and water reclamation. Increasing the throughput of crop production research in space, through commercially developed capabilities, will be important to deliver critical insights for NASA’s Artemis missions and beyond.”
The Redwire Greenhouse will offer clear, scalable commercial solutions for consumers looking to further crop science and support long-term NASA exploration initiatives. The greenhouse will also supply institutional and commercial customers accessibility to plant science and industrial research objectives. The 2023 in-space demonstration will assess the lighting, ventilation and leaf litter constraint capabilities.
Dewey Scientific plans to grow industrial hemp during the inaugural flight for a gene expression study. The company worked with Redwire, offering technical specifics about the 60-day experiment and detailing its potential to display the capabilities of the facility.
“Building on our long track record of partnering with commercial organizations like Tupperware, Eli Lilly and now Dewey Scientific, Redwire Greenhouse is another groundbreaking step forward in Redwire’s demonstrated leadership in establishing a viable commercial economy in low-Earth orbit. Through partnerships with Redwire, space is open for business,” said John Vellinger, executive vice president of In-Space Manufacturing and Operations at Redwire.
The Redwire Greenhouse will enhance existing Redwire plant technology, such as the Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (PONDS) devices created alongside Tupperware Brands and currently run by Redwire on the ISS.