Osram to Support NASA Horticulture on International Space Station

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High-tech lighting developer Osram Licht AG has been tapped by NASA to support its food production research.

Osram’s smart horticulture lighting system prototype used in NASA ground research. Courtesy of Osram.
Osram’s smart horticulture lighting system prototype used in NASA ground research. Courtesy of Osram.

The company will provide NASA with a customized version of its proprietary connected horticulture research lighting system, Phytofy RL. The smart lighting software, coupled with a unique setup of connected grow light fixtures, will supplement the lighting technology used in NASA’s food production. Research focused on production of salad-type crops for crews during space travel.

All software, hardware, and LEDs in Phytofy were developed by Osram. Osram has developed a broad portfolio of horticulture LEDs that irradiate the specific wavelengths needed for optimum growth of a wide variety of plants and flowers, allowing the light to be adapted specifically for the needs of various crops.

“Osram is developing smart, innovative lighting technologies that can improve food production in a variety of environments, even unique environments like space,” said Steve Graves, strategic program manager of urban and digital farming at Osram Innovation, Americas. “Many of the world’s coolest and most beneficial inventions have come from scientists at NASA over the past several decades, and to play a role in empowering further innovation through the use of our technologies is an honor. We are excited about the possibilities Phytofy RL will bring to a wide variety of horticulture applications, and our teams are excited to continue learning and refining its setup before ultimately bringing this exclusive solution to market within the next year.”

NASA was introduced to Osram through Hort Americas, which works closely with manufacturers to provide North American greenhouse growers, vertical farmers, and researchers with the most technically advanced and cost-effective products to help them reach their yield, quality, and project goals.

Device features include a UV channel, which provides researchers with the ability to add a brief UV light to see how plants react and change; more LEDs, which means a higher photosynthetic photon flux (PPF); and an irradiance map. PPF measures light emission by calculating how many photons are coming out of the light every second. This is an important metric for plant researchers so they can determine the most efficient and effective light recipes.

At NASA, Phytofy RL will allow researchers to easily adjust lighting conditions to optimize plant growth in various conditions and then replicate those settings in the Advanced Plant Habitat on the International Space Station, meeting the sophisticated needs of space food production. Installation of Phytofy RL within a growth chamber at Kennedy Space Center in Florida was completed recently, with plans to move the configuration to one or more of the Center’s walk-in plant grow rooms.

Published: June 2018
BusinessOsramNASAspaceLight SourceshorticulturePhytofy RLAmericasEuropeRapidScanBiophotonics

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