What can Microalgae do for Astronauts in Space?

May 3, 2018 / Julia Dancer

On 20 April 2018, IRS visited the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne to carry out a dry run for crew operations at the training reactor of the current space project Photobioreactor at the Life Support Rack (PBR@LSR).

The project PBR@LSR is conducted by the working group Life Support Systems and Energy Systems at IRS. Since March 2015, the group has been working together with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Airbus DS in Friedrichshafen to realize this experiment in the long-term cultivation of the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris.

As an experienced astronaut, Professor Ewald volunteered to test the „Photobioreactor Familiarisation“ lesson and the subsequent procedures at the PBR, feeding units, and sample return bags. Due to this test, both the important procedures and open questions concerning the topic of microalgae in biotechnological life support systems could be clarified before the astronaut on the upcoming mission to the International Space Station begins his training.

You can find the University of Stuttgart’s most recent press release about the project here: https://www.uni-stuttgart.de/en/university/news/press-release/Mikroalgen-bereit-fuer-das-All/



Dr. Serena Bertone gives Professor Ewald instructions as he connects the „Liquid Exchange Device“ to the photobioreactor.



Dr. Serena Bertone and Professor Ewald discuss the procedure carried out at the PBR training model.



The photobioreactor chamber used for training.

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