Life Support Systems for Lunar Landers 2008-01-2172
Engineers designing life support systems for NASA's next Lunar Landers face unique challenges. As with any vehicle that enables human spaceflight, the needs of the crew drive most of the lander requirements. The lander is also a key element of the architecture NASA will implement in the Constellation program. Many requirements, constraints, or optimization goals will be driven by interfaces with other projects, like the Crew Exploration Vehicle, the Lunar Surface Systems, and the Extravehicular Activity project. Other challenges in the life support system will be driven by the unique location of the vehicle in the environments encountered throughout the mission.
This paper examines several topics that may be major design drivers for the lunar lander life support system. There are several functional requirements for the lander that may be different from previous vehicles or programs and recent experience. Some of the requirements or design drivers will change depending on the overall Lander configuration. While the configuration for a lander design is not fixed, designers can examine how these issues would impact their design and be prepared for the quick design iterations required to optimize a spacecraft.