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LSSW: Lunar Scenario 4—Manifest Destiny? May 28, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Lunar Surface Systems Workshop.
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This is the latest in my ongoing series of coverage of the Lunar Surface Systems Workshop, where oodles of new, advanced concepts for NASA’s future lunar base were shown.

Lunar Surface Architecture Status: Part 4

Now that the idea of lunar scenarios is introduced, the presentation dives into selected scenarios themselves.

The first scenario is pretty brief, but comes with some spiffy imagery:

The NASA Lunar Base Concept with Technology Labeled

That is a graphic of the lunar base, with the technology labeled. All or most of those elements will each get their own post here in the coming weeks, but the note at the bottom there mentions two in particular: the ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) and the PUP (Portable Utility Pallet). The ATHLETE is probably the coolest thing I’ve seen from Constellation yet—video evidence of such :).

Scenario421Manifest

And that is a manifest showing the technology rollout to the base, under this scenario. That’s pretty darn neat, as it says right down to the quarter when they generally expect crew and elements to be there.

This scenario’s manifest shows that crew would be there 6 months at a time each of the last three fiscal years, for the middle two quarters—so from January through the end of June. In FY2020, four crew would only be there for a week in Q4 (late summer), and in FY2021 that goes up to 14 days (also in Q4).

As far as the tech, the bulk shows up in the form of the Lunar Electric Rovers (also known as Small Pressurized Rovers [SPRs]) and utilities in late 2020. The first ATHLETE shows up in late 2021, and the Core Habitat is in place by late 2022. So, despite NASA planning to have the base ‘completed’ by 2024 or so, there will be plenty of action up there before then :)

The diagram also notes that in FYs 2022, 2023, and 2024 there may be sorties to other lunar locations—potentially expeditions in the Lunar Electric Rovers (which can hold astronauts, comfortably, on trips as long as two weeks), versus seperate flights up there.

Check back soon for Part 5 of the Lunar Surface Architecture Status: a look at Scenario 5, which outlines nuclear fission as a lunar energy option.

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