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Advanced Exploration Systems Division

Ohalo III, The First Operational Crop Production System and Prototype for a Mars Transit Vehicle (Ohalo)

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Project Introduction

Ohalo III, The First Operational Crop Production System and Prototype for a Mars Transit Vehicle

Ohao III will serve as a test rig for the validation of crop production systems and technologies on the ISS. Given key nutrients in pre-packaged foods will degrade over time, flight crews on deep space missions will need fresh food to supplement the nutritional deficits of the pre-packaged food system and to add variety to their limited diet.       

Ohalo III is a prototype crop production system that will validate water delivery and volume optimization concepts and serve as a prototype crop system for one intended to be deployed on the Deep Space Transit mission. Ohalo III is being designed, built, and tested at the NASA Kennedy Space Center and the project and hardware development goals include the following:

  • Configuration includes two growth chambers housed in an EXPRESS rack deployed to ISS prior to FY25
  • the "core" facility shall provide a removable/customizable light cap, control system, structural containment
  • Incorporate and test advanced concepts for water delivery and volume optimization.
  • Serve as an operational system to validate crop production productivity, resource consumption, waste production and system reliability
  • Function as a prototype for Deep Space Transport food production concepts
  • System will make maximize the use of modular hardware concepts
  • System will minimize flight-crew maintenance while maintaining ease of service and repair
  • Able to grow a variety of pick and eat salad type crops
  • Serve as a test platform for new plant growth technologies 
  • Additional/evolvable elements to include consideration of: Seed delivery, sensors for plant health and food safety monitoring, robotics and automation for selected tasks, evaluate waste collection and cleaning concepts

Project Requirements Review (PRR), held 2/13/20

Down-Select Review (DSR), held 09/10/20 (review of trade/feasibility studies, and prototyping efforts)

Preliminary Design Review (PDR):  8/11/21

Critical Design Review (CDR):  7/27/22

Design Certification Review (DCR):  5/2/23  (EDU Delivery)

Acceptance Review (AR):  8/20/24 

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