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(covers information from several alternate timelines)
Life support system, or environmental control system (ECS), was one of the most crucial systems aboard any spacecraft.
Life support systems were in use as late as the late 20th century, when recyclic life support systems were planned for the Millennium Gate. (VOY: "11:59") As spacecraft became more advanced, life support sytems began including artificial gravity and inertial damper controls. When main and auxiliary powers failed aboard a starship, the system received power from batteries. In the most critical cases, a safeguard in the computer ordered the evacuation of the ship in question. (TOS: "The Cage"; VOY: "The Haunting of Deck Twelve") Aboard some vessels, the imminent failure of the life support system constituted a blue alert situation. (TNG: "Brothers")
Life support systems and pressure domes could be used to make a class K planet more hospitable for Humans. (TOS: "I, Mudd") A key component in 23rd century life support systems was the mineral topaline. (TOS: "Friday's Child")
The same year, the runabout USS Ganges returned from a routine mission in the Gamma Quadrant to Deep Space 9 because their life support was failing and the oxygen levels had dropped dangerously low. (DS9: "Q-Less")
Major Kira Nerys and Doctor Julian Bashir responded to a priority one distress signal from the Kobliad transport ship Reyab whose life support and central power linkage was failing. (DS9: "The Passenger")
Before its atmospheric dome was added, Internment Camp 371 relied on life support systems in its walls to provide atmosphere. Enabran Tain used the old systems to send a message to Elim Garak in 2373. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light", "Inquisition")
In the Battle of Sector 001, the USS Defiant lost its life support systems in the fight against the Borg. The Defiant crew, including Worf, was then beamed aboard the USS Enterprise-E. (Star Trek: First Contact)
It appears that even when life support systems were disabled, it was still possible to maintain life aboard a starship for a limited period of time, using the oxygen that was already in the atmosphere. (ENT: "Exile")
In the alternate reality, the life support systems of Constitution-class starships were controlled by a life support center located (in the) aft of the warp nacelles. If these systems were destroyed, there was no backup system in place. (Star Trek Into Darkness)