1996-07-01

Self-Constructing, Deployable, Ready-To-Use Habitat for the Moon: a Cheap Challenge for a Lunar Base 961398

Space: so far so expensive! If the Space Station has a 6-year delay in respect to the initial schedule, Lunar Base will have a 15-year delay, if we continue to think in a conservative way.We need a new approach for the missions' and manned systems' design.The ISU-IACSA (Italian Affiliate Campus for Space Architecture of the International Space University) current activities are focused on "self-constructing" and "self-shaping habitat." The major cost of a space mission is essentially the transfer "flights" from Earth to Space, and, in the case of the Moon, all the steps to go there, space station's stops included.Many flights are necessary to build a Lunar base due to the large number of elements by which it is composed; in particular, the current NASA's Lunar Base configuration for 12 people is based on 5 flights minimum and on a lot of time to be spent by the astronauts once on the surface of Moon to assemble the base (in a space suit).The aim of the ISU-IACSA research is to design a new construction technology able to reduce drastically the number of flights and the human work in the pressurized suit.A new design approach is under testing.Beginning from the launch vehicle to the final assembly, the Florentine research has an objective: to design a single-flight mission and a ready-to-use habitat; that means to think at a robotized construction technology able to be maneuvered from control center on the Earth: we could think at a "teleconstruction." In this case astronauts would arrive on the Moon and could live in the habitat at the same time. Some interesting solutions came out at University of Florence.The paper will present the research's design philosophy and some architectural/technological solutions.In particular, will be presented two design projects: one based on a 4.5 diameter cylinder and the second on a 16 meters in diameter sphere, both using inflatable and self-constructing technology

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