Named for the ancient Russian goddess of spring, Lada is a vegetation chamber created to provide a "space garden" for astronauts during their long flights. Launched aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket on 25 September 2002, Lada is now hosted on the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) and will remain in continuous use through 2010. Since its launch, Lada has produced a harvest of fresh vegetables, providing cosmonauts with nutritional meals and therapeutic activity.
SDL collaborated with the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems to develop
Lada. Because Lada enables scientists to conduct affordable and long-term research
on plant development in space, NASA and other space agencies are considering
using vegetable production units much like Lada as part of the ISS and Mars
Transit flight support systems. SDL jointly owns the Lada hardware with the
Russians, and experiments using the hardware will be flown as part of the Russian
scientific program with USU investigators as partners.