A modular BLSS simulation model

John D. Rummel, Tyler Volk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The coordination of material flows in Earth's biosphere is largely made possible by the buffering effect of huge material reservoirs. Without similarly-sized buffers, a bioregenerative life support system (BLSS) for extraterrestrial use will be faced with coordination problems more acute than those in any ecosystem found on earth. A related problem in BLSS design is providing an interface between the various life-support processors, one that will allow for their coordination while still allowing for system expansion. Here we present a modular model of a BLSS that interfaces system processors only with the material storage reservoirs, allowing those reservoirs to act as the principal buffers in the system and thus minimizing difficulties with processor coordination. The modular nature of the model allows independent development of the detailed submodels that exist within the model framework. Using this model, BLSS dynamics were investigated under normal conditions and under various failure modes. Partial and complete failures of various components, such as the waste processor or the plants themselves, drive transient responses in the model system, allowing us to examine the effectiveness of the system reservoirs as buffers. The results from simulations of this sort will help to determine control strategies and BLSS design requirements. An evolved version of this model could be used as an interactive control aid in a future BLSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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