Vegetable Production Unit
VPU, also known as Lada-VPU-P3R, was a study to advance the technology required for plant growth in microgravity and to research related food safety issues. The projected also investigated the non-nutritional value to the flight crew of developing plants on-orbit. The experiments used the SDL-developed Lada hardware on the ISS and falls under a cooperative agreement between NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency (FSA).
The project optimized hardware and plant growth techniques to enable maximum plant development to occur on the ISS. The VPU team developed procedures and protocols to help allow future US astronauts to safely eat space-grown vegetables. Through surveys of previous and current space explorers, VPU measured the non-nutritional benefits (stress relief, etc.) crewmembers experience working with plants in space.