Dassault Systèmes
Velizy-Villacoublay, France
www.3ds.com

Interstellar Lab (Paris, France) develops and builds closed-loop sustainable living systems on Earth and in space. The company focuses on creating space-grade food production systems and habitat modules for humans. On Earth, solutions address the current climate crisis and the need for new food production systems. In space, solutions address closed-loop life support systems for lunar missions in the context of NASA’s Artemis Program and in the future, for Mars exploration.

BioPod maintains precise and specific climatic conditions no matter the external environment.

Interstellar used Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud to design and develop its first prototype: BioPod. This controlled-environment food production system advances its mission to build space-ready stations containing the infrastructure and resources to support human life sustainably on Earth, the Moon, and Mars.

The company used the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to seamlessly collaborate and rapidly optimize and validate its designs. In one digital environment providing secure and instant access to the latest project data from anywhere at any time, team members in France and the U.S. (Culver City, CA) combined their expertise and used a virtual twin to simulate and test the performance of BioPod’s structure in extreme climates, as well as that of its biological systems such as the optimal levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and light levels for plants to grow.

The pods can generate and recycle food, air, and water to support life for a group of people in space.

“Climate change is a real emergency for Earth and we only have a small window to bring about positive change. We are developing a new framework for sustainable living on Earth and a testbed for future space missions,” said Barbara Belvisi, Founder and CEO of Interstellar Lab. “The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables us to have the most efficient working processes and avoid reworking designs from scratch. As we progress to the next stage, the platform’s program and project management capabilities will be invaluable to us for storing and retrieving design knowledge and managing the product lifecycle effectively.”

The pods work alone or can be attached together to form modules. By combining modules, they can support life for larger groups and become a framework for sustainable cities.

BioPod is an inflatable dome measuring 6 meters (19.7 feet) wide, 10 meters (32.8 feet) long, and 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) high that uses composites for the solid technical base and soft plastic membranes for the main and outer shell. It is designed to revolutionize food production by combining advanced crop cultivation technology with predictive monitoring to grow a diverse array of crops and plants that would not otherwise survive in a traditional indoor farming setup.

The BioPods join to create space-ready stations containing the infrastructure and resources to support human life sustainably on the Moon.

As BioPod evolves, Interstellar will use the virtual twin to experience and monitor the dome’s operations and maintenance and gather data around food production and the environment. The platform will also facilitate communication with suppliers as the company designs future modules and scales up manufacturing and outsourcing as well as enable the company to create photorealistic renderings from BioPod’s 3D model to communicate its vision.

“Innovators are shaking up traditional industry dynamics in the race to explore space with new concepts defining the future of aerospace systems,” said David Ziegler, Vice President, Aerospace & Defense Industry, for Dassault Systèmes. “The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables them to integrate technology into product development and accelerate the product lifecycle from concept to certification using the same tools that larger companies use, without the overhead. They can engage in virtual twin experiences to optimize their ideas, gain critical first-to-market advantage, and introduce more sustainable ways to live and explore.”

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This article first appeared in the September, 2021 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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