Aerospace: Space Technology

Closed Equilibrated Biological Aquatic System

Challenge: To research the behaviour of fish, snails and aquatic plants in zero gravity conditions. On a space shuttle mission to the ISS scientists wanted to find out more about the development of cells and reproductive behaviour of aquatic life in space. A closed laboratory system for a variety of lifeforms was required. The laboratory needed to allow feeding with dry food.

Our role included development and construction of a self-sufficient environment including sensors and data recording. The laboratory included:

  • A stable container
  • An aquarium
  • Water pumps
  • A filter system
  • An automatic feeding system
  • Heat exchanger
  • Lighting
  • Video recording
  • Sensors

Solution: The CEBAS laboratory consisted of a nine litre aquarium made from special plastics held together with a bio-compatible glue, which we developed specially. A chamber system provided food. The whole laboratory was set up in an aluminium container.

Special details: The system not only needed to be able to operate in zero gravity, it also had to withstand extreme stresses of takeoff and landing. Its location in the mid-deck locker of the shuttle also entailed meeting extremely high safety standards.