Autonomous Biological System (ABS) experiments.
Three space flight experiments have been conducted to test and demonstrate the use of a passively controlled, materially closed, bioregenerative life support system in space. The Autonomous Biological System (ABS) provides an experimental environment for long term growth and breeding of aquatic plants and animals. The ABS is completely materially closed, isolated from human life support systems and cabin atmosphere contaminants, and requires little need for astronaut intervention. Testing of the ABS marked several firsts: the first aquatic angiosperms to be grown in space; the first higher organisms (aquatic invertebrate animals) to complete their life cycles in space; the first completely bioregenerative life support system in space; and, among the first gravitational ecology experiments. As an introduction this paper describes the ABS, its flight performance, advantages and disadvantages.