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Growing Food In Space

Application: Indoor, Research & AgTech

Crop type: Cucumber, Leafy Greens, Peppers, Tomato, Vegetables

EDEN ISS is part of a European research program led by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany . The overall goal of the EDEN ISS initiative is to adapt, integrate and demonstrate crop cultivation techniques and operational procedures for reliable, sustainable food production on board the international space station and in future space projects. The project is financed with funds from the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under project number 636501.


Heliospectra was invited to join the EDEN consortium as a lighting specialist in 2014. The EDEN ISS is an European collaboration project in Horizon 2020 framework, bringing together 14 research institutes and commercial companies. DLR in Bremen, Germany is leading the project and coordinating work between the partnership organizations.

The goal was to design, build and test a semi-closed plant cultivation unit to sustain efficient crop production in extreme conditions.

Prior to demonstration, a number of growth experiments were carried out by Wageningen University, Netherlands in order to optimize growth spectrum, light intensity and select the suitable varieties of various crops. Additional food safety and sensory tests were conducted by Limeric Institute of Technology, Ireland. Heliospectra’s in-house product engineering and PlantLab experts created a customized version of our commercial ELIXIA lamp for the test applications and final installations.

Installed and operating in Antarctica since 2018, the self- sufficient greenhouse concept appears to be effective for demanding climate regions on Earth, as well as for future manned missions to the Moon and Mars.

DLR researcher Paul Zabel is overcoming challenges, as well as acquiring knowledge from cultivating plants under such harsh conditions. To the overwintering team, the fresh greens, vegetables, and herbs are a welcome change during their long- term isolation.