On April 11, 2016, Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance held a joint media event in Colorado Springs, CO to announce a partnership to develop and deploy habitable volumes in Low Earth orbit (LEO). The volumes will be based on the Bigelow Aerospace B330 expandable module with the initial launch to orbit in 2020 on ULA's Atlas V 552.
Bigelow Aerospace is building space habitats for the public. Get an exclusive tour inside one of their prototypes, and see where we would live in space.
NASA has selected six U.S. companies to help advance the Journey to Mars by developing ground prototypes and concepts for deep space habitats.
Credit: NASA Spaceflight Forum
SPACE HABITAT: WHERE, HOW AND WHAT KINDS?
SPACE HABITAT: WHERE, HOW AND WHAT KIND?
Space habitat move from LEO to Cislunar space & Moon's surface... to Mars' orbit & surface
.In and around the International Space Station, astronauts make some human researchs and technological demonstrations in a vacuum environment.
.The Cislunar space, is the place to support Asteroid Mission Concepts, for the assembly of Mars Transit Vehicles, for Orbital Habitats, as well as support service for international and/or commercial interests.
. For the Mars Transfer Habitats in Cislunar space, rockets will be launched with payloads, scientific studies, interior configurations and outfitting for transit vehicles.
Credit: Deep Space Habitats-David Smitherman, May 6, 2015: Humans to Mars Summit 2015/Stepping Stones (II): ISS and Beyond/ American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics / NASA Marshall Space Flight Center / Advanced Concepts Office
Lunar Vicinity Missions, Asteroid Retrieval Missions and Lunar Missions
Many studies about the Asteroid Retrieval Missions (ARM) have proposed the basic concept of a long duration habitat to support ongoing activities in a lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit (DRO). Initial missions in this stable location might include only an Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) with two crew members and Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) support equipment. Longer missions with larger crews are possible by adding habitats to the MPCV.
To support lunar missions, habitats located in the lunar DRO, EML1, and EML2 orbits are the most interesting. At these orbits, astronauts have a direct control of the lunar surface robotic systems and the use of the reusable robotic and human lander systems. On the surface and after the initial analysis and curation of the sample materials collected, the crews can assist the robotic set up and the service of the ISRU systems.
Although initial missions might use a MPCV and an expendable lander in a Low Lunar Orbit (LLO), a habitat at the higher orbits could support human-tended missions for 4-crew for up to 180 days. Higher locations provide a global access to the lunar surface, and support lander re-usability with the required servicing functions.
For Mars missions, some studies suggest the assembly of the Mars Cargo and the Human Transfer Vehicles in a high-Earth orbit like the lunar DRO, EML1, and EML2. These orbits reduce the change in velocity required for the Transfer, thereby reducing the size and the number of stages that have to be assembled in orbit.
Deep Space Operations beyond LEO have significant differences for deep space habitats from the well-established procedures at the ISS. The deep space environment will force systems to become more autonomous and crews to become less dependent from ground support for mission plans, maintenance, and resupply. System autonomy, and vehicle maintenance and repair capabilities on board are important features for all deep space habitat systems.
To maintain a deep space habitat in the lunar vicinity, a Commercial Cargo will be necessary to resupply it, like NASA does with ISS. Also, the Commercial Crew systems can be extended, if the spacecraft can be refuelled at the ISS or in LEO for its transfers out to a habitat in deep space. Such developments should enable new commercial business capabilities that are compatible with exploration mission objectives.
The Distant Retrograde Orbits (DROs) are orbits that exist in the Circular Restricted Three Body Problem (CRTBP) that appear to orbit in a retrograde secondary body with a relative periodic motion. They were first proposed for observation in the Sun-Earth system due to their favorable deep space environment and predictable behavior. For these reasons, DROs have been chosen for the Asteroid Redirect Mission to place the captured boulder and provide the Orion capsule an acceptable abort strategy.
The Low Lunar Orbits (LLOs) are defined as the circular orbits of an altitude around 100 km above the lunar surface. For Apollo this was an equatorial orbit in the Earth-Moon plane. In the following decades, additional studies have concluded that LLOs are good staging orbits to reach the surface. With a range of inclinations to access global landing sites, LLOs offer many benefits to the design of a lander but have impacts to other systems.
The Lagrange Points are places where the forces acting on an object are perfectly balanced so that its orbit does not change. There are thousands of asteroids near Jupiter's Lagrange points which are called the trojans. This video has made use of data provided by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center.
Credit: It's Just Astronomical!
Orbital ATK’s vision for the next step toward human space missions to Mars employs the flight-proven Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft as a human habitat in cislunar space. In the early 2020s it will launch the initial habitat on NASA’s SLS rocket. Featuring a modular design, the habitat will serve both as a destination for crewed missions and as an unmanned test-bench to prove the technologies needed for long-duration human space missions. The habitat is also envisioned as a base for lunar missions by international partners or commercial ventures. With additional habitation and propulsion modules, the habitat could be outfitted for a Mars pathfinder mission. Credit: Northrop Grumman
This video shows the animation of the process of transporting, assembling and testing the Habitat Demonstration Unit - Deep Space Habitat configuration, deployed during the 2011 Desert RATS analog field tests.
More News about Habitats
ADVANCING TORPOR INDUCING TRANSFER HABITATS
SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI) proposes an advanced habitat system for transporting crews between the Earth and deep space destinations. During the in-space mission segments or travel, their innovative habitat design will be capable of cycling them through inactive, non-cryonic torpor sleep states. LEARN MORE
Space Launch System (SLS) - Habitat Concept
The Skylab was a large single module habitat that provided about 555 m3 of habitable volume for about 49 metric tons (mt). This is similar to many modules on the ISS where ten times the mass at 450 mt resulted in less habitable volume at 355 m3.
SAFE HAVEN FOR DEEP SPACE TRANSIT HABITATS
We can say that, in the ISS, many risks are mitigated by extensive procedures and experience of ground operations and astronaut crews, as well as the availability of multiple modules and return vehicles. LEARN MORE
International Space Station (ISS) - Habitat Concept
Several ISS derived concepts have been studied to determine the feasibility of using existing ISS modules available on the ground or fabricating new modules of a similar size and design. Two basic concepts are presented here to illustrate the potential they have for Deep Space Habitats. All are at a vey high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) because they are highly reliant on exiting ISS technologies.
The TURBOLIFT is a Linear Sled Hybrid Artificial Gravity concept (LSH AG) thatcould be essential to enabling crewed long-duration lunar stays, cis-lunar exploration, Mars orbital missions, exploration of Martian moons, Martian landings, or any further destination in our solar system. LEARN MORE