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What company is Building the Moon Habitat?

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posted on Sep, 27 2006 @ 07:03 AM
I see we are going to the moon again. I am curious though if NASA has plans to send a Habitat to the moon first? Seems it would be easy enough to send supplies and a habitat to the moon prior to man returning. This makes a lot of sence. Why would they want to live and work out of the very small lunar lander and second would'nt it be safer just in case the lander has problem to have a safe habitat and supplies in place prior to landing again? Not to mention they could send the new moon buggy etc... way before we get there. Doing this first would also mean each flight to the moon could be longer from the very start thus saving money in the long run. Why go for 3 days if you can go for a month or more right from the start.

I believe it is essential to the safety of our astronaughts to send a safe habitat, parts and supplies for extended period first just in case the lander has a problem. I have driven my truch now for 5 years since I bought it and have never had a problem. This morning I had a flat....stuff happens and we should prepare a safety net on the moon beofre sending man again.

If the lander fails it seems it would be simple enough to send another one to the moon (even first?).

[edit on 27-9-2006 by Xeven]

posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 09:35 AM
NASA has yet to select a contractor for the next-generation Lunar Lander that will complement the Orion crew capsule. Orion is being built by Lockheed-Martin; it's a good bet that the lander/habitat will be built by an American company, which like as not means it will be built by one of the following: Lockheed, Boeing, or Northrop Grumman. Lockmart has released several concepts of their Lunar Lander vehicle, but so far that's about it.

However much sense it might make to send both a habitat and a lunar lander for each Moon mission, that doesn't seem to be NASA's plan at the moment. The published mission architecture for the Constellation program suggests their going to follow the Apollo model, at least for the first few flights. Fortunately, the new lander concepts published by Lockheed - and the amount of payload that the Ares V will be able to send to the moon - suggest that the next astronauts to explore the moon will be far more comfortable, and be able to stay for far longer, than were the Apollo astronauts.

posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 08:11 PM
Seems to me that if we sent a Habitat up there for the first crew to assymble that the lander could be much less robust in human amenities and perhaps allow the lander to carry more fuel, or supplies allowing multiple trips to, and from the orbiter if needed Maybe even reduce the cost of the landers themselves since it would be a lander and not a habitat. The lander design could be based only on the safe landing and extraction of humans from the moon and perhaps some sort of emergency short term habitat.

Bottom line is if we truely going to go there often then a cheaper lander would be better and just have reusable habitats in each place they intend to have men work up there.

[edit on 29-9-2006 by Xeven]

posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 09:53 PM
All good points, Xeven; basically any such proposal is hampered by the fact that - as yet - there is not plan for specifically when America will return to the moon. All estimates point to the 2015-2020 timeframe, based on a 2014 estimate for Orion's first flight. But I have to disagree with your assessment that a low-tech lander would save much money.

The reason for this is that what really makes the $$$ add up in the aerospace industry is testing. NASA tests everything - they build it, stress it until it breaks, figure out why it broke, make it better, etc. Even something as simple as the lunar lander's ladder (actually the LSAM's ladder now, for Lunar Surface Access Module) needs to be tested. On Earth a ladder is a ladder is a ladder, sure, but what happens to that ladder when it has been sitting in a Lunar environment for up to six months (the expected maximum extent of future Moon missions, at least for the moment)? In that environment the ladder would be exposed to a significant amount of radiation, would experience temperatures ranging from 40 Kelvins to 396 Kelvins, etc. That's just the ladder, not the rocket engines, the life support systems, or the fuel tanks - and the fuel tanks WILL be a problem, because NASA wants to go with a LOX/LH2 mix for the fuel/oxidizer, mostly to maximize payload, but preventing liquid hydrogen boil-off in a lunar environment over a 6 month period is going to be a tough problem to lick.

An additional problem with your plan, aside from development expenses, is simply paying for the rocket. The numbers aren't in yet, but the Ares V, which WILL be needed to send Orion to the moon (be it with a habitat or a more bare-bones lander), will probably run somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 Million per launch; the RS-68 engines on the first stage alone will total $100 Million (for 5); a pair of SRB's will run about $50 Million (rounded up), to say nothing about the upper stage, the tankage itself, etc. Another, space-specific board I post at has some members who work at Kennedy Space Center for Shuttle contractors, and some of them have been making a pretty good argument for ~$500 million for each Ares V launch. Your plan would require two such launches for each moon mission, one for the Orion capsule and the lander, and another for the Habitat. That would get very expensive very quickly.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 01:59 AM

That's just the ladder, not the rocket engines, the life support systems, or the fuel tanks - and the fuel tanks WILL be a problem, because NASA wants to go with a LOX/LH2 mix for the fuel/oxidizer, mostly to maximize payload, but preventing liquid hydrogen boil-off in a lunar environment over a 6 month period is going to be a tough problem to lick.

One of the mission priorities should be to figure out a way to turn moon resources into useable food, water, and air.

This is supposed to be a stepping stone to Mars, we should act like we plan to stay on the moon as it will invariably help in the effort to colonize mars.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 08:05 AM
Agree, sardiono2000, but In Situ Resource Utilization technologies are going to require some testing and "dialing in" before we rely on them 100%. ISRU is not going to lower the price of going to the moon except in the relatively long term, because we essentially need to build ISRU equipment from the ground up - unlike the actual moon landing, for which we have a model (Apollo) to follow. So we need to R&D the crap out of the proposed ISRU technologies in addition to designing, testing, and building Orion itself, the LSAM, Ares I, Ares V, an upper stage for the Ares V, etc.

Either way the first few moon missions are going to need to carry their Earth return fuel with them, because we aren't going to rely on ISRU until we're sure it works.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 08:06 AM
Sorry, Double Post.

[edit on 30-9-2006 by PhloydPhan]

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