DigitalSpace Concepts for Lunar Exploration Staging Rack

A Multi-Function "Service Station" for Lunar Telerobotic Base Preparation

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The Rack Described

The following simulation describes a telerobotic precursor mission to the moon to prepare Lunar base infrastructure prior to the arrival of a human crew. The special feature of this design is a "staging rack" which is launched into low Earth orbit and outfitted with components in LEO before being sent into low Lunar orbit by use of an continuous thrust electric propulsion (ion) drive. Once in Lunar orbit, tele-operators on Earth would deploy components to the Lunar surface for base preparation. Included in the package are a excavator with sinterer to pave areas and provide dust mitigation, a pressurized habitat that is buried by the excavator to provide radiation protection, and a dual rover package (one service rover, one pressurized rover) that is landed in preparation for human crew.

Upon arrival of the first Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) in Lunar orbit, the CEV will dock with the rack, parking the Earth return vehicle on the rack, connected to power and fuel/oxygen. The CEV crew will then enter a second pressurized habitat brought along by the CEV and descend to the Lunar base. Leaving the Lunar surface, the crew will again dock with the rack, transer to the Earth return vehicle and leave their pressurized habitat attached to the support structure of the rack.

In conclusion, the rack can be used to deliver a low cost "service station" to deploy several telerobotic elements for Lunar base preparation, supports CEV crews to and from the Lunar base, and gives an added measure of safety and redundancy by providing full time power, fuel, oxygen and a parking place for vehicle and component re-use

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Created at DigitalSpace, Santa Cruz CA, USA and DM3D Studios, Maffra, Victoria, Australia

We would especially like to acknowledge the support and informative guidance of Raytheon, The Colorado School of Mines Center for Commercial Applications of Combustion in Space (CCACS), and various individuals at NASA. We would also like to thank the following for providing information sources and guidance for this concept visualization:
HOPE / RASC studies (referenced by NASA JIMO/Prometheus)
The Lunar Base Handbook, Peter Eckart
John Frassanito & Associates

The CEV interaction with the rack

[Click here] for photos and description of the CEV interaction

Detailed Mission Simulation Breakdown

[Click here] for a detailed mission segment-by-segment breakdown of this simulation, with commentary

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[Click here]
for our first scenario for Lunar base human crew activities.