. Space Habitat: Where, How and What Kind?

. Lunar Vicinity Missions

Space Launch System (SLS) - Habitat Concept

. Habitat Concepts for LEO, Lunar and Mars Orbits & Surfaces 

. International Space Station (ISS) Derived Concept

. ISS Today


Credit: A.C. Clarke - Rama Created by Eric Bruneton Original video: http://ebruneton.free.fr/rama3/rama.html


Credit: Uzi Berko


. Space Environmental Effects on Materials

. Space Environmental Effects on  Human

. Crew's preparation for the ISS  

. Commercial Crew Program - The Essentials

. Some Companies for Suborbital Level: XCOR Aerospace & Virgin Galactic 

. Some companies for Suborbital and Orbital Level: Blue Origin (LLC), Bigelow  Aerospace & Sierra Nevada Corp. / SpaceDev 


Inflatable Module Habitat BA-330. Credit: Bigelow Aerospace

In-Space Habitat Concept near the Earth's Moon orbit.


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 configuration launch vehicle."
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.

Broadcasted July 09 on the National Geographic Channel

Space habitat: where, how & what kinds?

Habitat move from LEO, to Cis-Lunar Space & Surface to Mars Orbits & Surface


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

In and around the International Space Station, astronauts make some human research and technology demonstration in a vacuum environment

In the Cis-Lunar space, that is the place to support Asteroid Mission Concept, for the assembly of Mars Transit Vehicle, for Orbital Habitats, as well as support service for International and/or commercial interest


For the Mars Transfer Habitat, we will Launch vehicle payload integration analysis, Mass & volume studies, interior configuration, outfitting and human factors studies

Lunar vicinity Missions - Asteroid Retrieval Missions & Lunar Missions

In the vicinity of the Moon, we have the lunar surface, Earth-Moon Lagrangian points 1 and 2 (EML1 and EML2 respectively), and several lunar orbits , including a Distant Retrograde Orbit (DRO) that passes through EML1 and EML2. Precisely:

Many studies about the Asteroid Retrieval Missions (ARM) have proposed some approaches to support that mission with the basic concept of a long duration habitat to support ongoing activities in orbit into a lunar DRO.

Studies preferred the DRO location because it is a stable orbit requiring little or no station keeping propellants for maintenance. Initial missions might include only an Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) with two crew members and Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) support equipment. And for long-term exploration, it is possible to add habitat to the MPCV and make longer missions with larger crews.

In the Habitat, activities could include life support for 4-crew up to 180 days, logistics resupply for ongoing human-tended operations, EVA and robotics support for sample collection, and setup of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) experiments on the asteroid with an onboard laboratory.  Also, the Hab can be used for testing and repairing of ISRU systems.

On the Moon for Lunar Missions, Habitats can make more direct control of lunar surface robotic systems, service for reusable robotic and human lander systems, initial analysis and curation of lunar sample materials collected from the surface of the moon, and assistance with setting up and serving of ISRU systems on the moon and in a laboratory inside the habitat using lunar materials.

Although initial missions might use an MPCV and an expendable lander in a Low Lunar Orbit, a Habitat at the higher orbits could support human-tended missions for 4-crew up to 180 days, provide global access to the lunar surface, and support lander reusability with the required servicing functions. It was found that these systems could be developed as an expansion of the capabilities described for the previous ARM.

Some Mars mission studies considered assembly of the Mars cargo and human transfer vehicles in a high-Earth orbit like the lunar DRO, EML1, and EML2 orbits described above because they reduce the change in velocity requirements for the transfer, thereby reducing the size and 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 on 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.

Commercial Crew and Cargo will be critical too. Maintaining a deep space habitat in the lunar vicinity will eventually need resupply. Expanding the existing commercial cargo systems to deep space should be a natural fit. Commercial crew capabilities using existing ELV capabilities should be possible too with the development of refueling capabilities at the ISS or in LEO for 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 Orbit’s (DRO’s) are orbits that exist in the Circular Restricted Three Body Problem (CRTBP) that appear to orbit the secondary body in a retrograde, and relatively periodic, motion. For the Earth-Moon system, DRO’s appear to orbit the moon when in fact they are orbits around the Earth. They were first proposed for observational purposes in the Sun-Earth system due to their favorable deep space environment and periodic, predictable behavior. That why the DRO has been proposed for the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) as the location to place a captured boulder from an asteroid. For this mission, it was deemed feasible for Orion to reach the orbit and also maintain an acceptable abort strategy.

Low Lunar Orbits (LLOs) is defined as a circular orbit 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 since, additional studies have concluded LLO as a good staging orbit to the surface, including a range of inclinations to access global landing sites. LLO offers many benefits to the design of a lander but has impacts to other systems and must be weighed in the balance of the entire mission architecture.

Add Sept 26, 2016, on YOUTUBE 
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, the region between the Moon and Earth. In the early 2020s we would launch the initial habitat on NASA’s SLS rocket. Featuring a modular design, the habitat would serve both as a destination for crewed missions and as an unmanned testbed to prove-out 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.
This animated video shows the process of transporting, assembling and testing the Habitat Demonstration Unit - Deep Space Habitat (HDU DSH) configuration, which will be deployed during the 2011 Desert RATS analog field tests.
More at http://scitech.quickfound.net/astro/n...
"This video looks at the testing of lunar materials as a possible building material for lunar bases."



The Skylab was a large single module habitat that provided about 555 m3 of habitable volume for about 49 mt. This is comparative with the many modules on ISS where ten times the mass at 450 mt resulted in less habitable volume at 355 m3. In examining the mass statements from the historical and new studies, it was found that the structural mass of the many connections and end domes between modules adds significantly to the total mass. In addition, there are many internal subsystems that are duplicated for each module when multiple modules are used. When these facts are considered in detail, it is easy to understand how volume can be increased and how mass can be reduced simply by reducing the number of individual elements.

Credit: Space Launch System Co-Manifested Payload Options For Habitation / David Smitherman of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, 35812

Large diameter SLS modules offer significant mass savings per unit volume, built-in compatibility with the launch vehicle, single launch capability without on-orbit assembly, interior layouts with improved radiation protection, sufficient volume to accommodate consumables for long duration missions, and significant cost savings through the use of launch vehicle components and single launch capability. The ISS systems have advantages too, as demonstrated over the past two decades of assembly and operations. Future developments should be a combination of both that brings forward the best of the ISS technologies into the next generation of SLS.

Credit: Habitation Concepts For Human Missions Beyond Low- Earth-Orbit / David V. Smitherman* NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, 35802

SLS Co-Manifested And Dedicated Payload Configurations. Two co-manifested elements and one of three large habitats complete the configuration planned for the lunar DRO.


The basic ground rules for the study included the usage of two Space Launch System (SLS) universal stage adapters (USA): USA2 and USA3, to provide a 10 m long payload bay and an assumed 10 mt payload capability on an SLS 1b launch vehicle configuration. Two concepts were developed to package the modules utilizing these adapters.

The build sequence for the cislunar habitat in the lunar DRO is the same for each of the three large habitats examined here, the 5.5 m, 7.2 m  and 8.4m diameter habitats.

The first element is the ASM, which is delivered by the Orion with the crew to the lunar DRO. It provides a small habitable volume for logistics and open-loop environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) to supplement the capabilities of the Orion. Each flight has the open-loop ECLSS provision to protect the reserves on the Orion and provide an approach to longer duration missions during the build sequence. The propulsion bus was sized for basic station keeping of the entire stack in the lunar DRO and includes a pressurized tunnel and docking port to permit docking at either end of the ASM. Propellant loads could vary, but a capability for refueling was considered along with relocation of the entire stack across the lunar DRO orbit in the event that the asteroid retrieval vehicle arrived much later and in a different orbit.

The second element is the DM and is also delivered by the Orion with the crew to the lunar DRO. The docking module provides both NASA Docking System (NDS) and Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) ports with pressurized mating adapters similar to the ISS standard. This permits both docking by the Orion for crew transfers and berthing using a robotic arm for logistics transfers and interior circulation with utility feed-through for the habitable volumes. Adoption of the larger CBM standard with the 50 x 50 inch hatch is an important Mars-forward feature that will aid in the refurbishment of the large Mars-transit habitats between missions and adaption to future surface docking systems using a 50 x 60 inch step-through hatch. In addition, the DM includes an EVA hatch for contingency purposes only so it can serve as an airlock if needed.

The third element is a large habitat or HAB, which is delivered on a payload flight by the SLS. Included with the payload, an attached propulsion stage provides propulsion beyond the EUS TLI burn for transfer around the Moon and into the lunar DRO. Three diameters were analyzed for the large HAB element, 5.5 m, 7.2 m, and 8.4 m. The large HAB supports a crew of 4 for 1000 days when fully outfitted with provisions.

Skylab II (SLS-derived Deep Space Habitat)

Skylab II is a concept that uses an empty SLS propellant tank for a deep space habitat. Similar to the original Skylab (operated 1973-74), it is a low-cost, low-risk solution benefiting from the SLS large diameter and heavy-lift capability for a single launch delivery. It provides ample volume for the crew and operations. Commonality with the SLS ensures launch vehicle compatibility with minimized development time.

Marshall conceived and assessed a Skylab-inspired habitat for deep space exploration using the SLS.

Credit:  NASA Marshall Space Flight Center | Core Capabilities and Services / Advanced Concepts and Systems Analysis Rapid Architecture Solutions

The SLS co-manifested payloads are delivered with the Orion through the trans-lunar injection (TLI) burn by the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS). With the payload still attached to the EUS, the Universal Stage Adapter (USA) 2 fairing is jettisoned and the Orion rotates to dock with the payload. After docking, the EUS releases the payload and the Orion service module delivers the payload to the lunar DRO destination. The SLS payload delivery flights are simpler, but each requires an attached propulsion bus with the payload to complete the delivery from the end of the EUS TLI burn to the final destination in the lunar DRO.

Credit: SLS Derived Concepts - "Habitat Concepts for Deep Space Exploration" by David Smitherman, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, 35812, & Brand N. Griffin of Gray Reseach, Huntsville, Alabama, 35806.

His study presents three possible SLS derived concepts based on the 8.4 m diameter SLS core stage, which are similar to the concept known as Skylab II from previous publications. All three configurations match the SLS vehicle diameter, such that the cylindrical section aligns with the main structural loads path of the launch vehicle and requires only an aeroshell around the module to protect the multilayer insulation (MLI) and provide protection from micrometeoroid impacts.

Minimum Capability and Full Capability configurations were designed for the Lunar vicinity to explore the upper and lower bounds of possible configurations for missions. And by the fact, the Mars Transit Habitat configuration were designed for deep space and is applicable to missions for asteroid and Mars destinations.

The SLS derived module in Configuration C-1 for Minimum Capability has one axial port on the Airlock aft end for attachment of the Orion MPCV. The Airlock is also equipped with a side EVA hatch for easy access to external utility systems. An additional port is possible at the dome opposite the Airlock end or forward end. The aft end supports external propulsion systems to assist in maneuvers to the lunar DRO from a separate EUS, and is designed for refueling to accommodate transfers between the Lunar DRO and the EML1 and EML2 orbits.

The interior layout is uses a combination of equipment pallets, storage compartments, and acoustical panels to form the interior space on three levels. The crew quarters is located in the center of the mid deck for maximum radiation protection from surrounding systems ; therefore, no additional mass is required from water walls or polyethylene panels, as provided in the previous ISS derived configurations or in use on the ISS.

The lower deck provides a subsystems area for pallet mounted equipment and an exercise area; the mid-deck provides the crew quarters as mentioned, two crew workstations and a waste/hygiene management compartment; and the upper deck provides a galley/wardroom and two additional crew workstations. Vertical translation to each deck is provided through the two end domes.

The internal configuration for both C-1 and C-2 is similar with the crew quarters located in the center to maximize radiation protection.

The two SLS derived habitat configurations shown in this summary provide habitation for 4-crew on three missions of 60 days, or varying lengths up to 180 days total. Additional missions and duration times are possible with logistic flights to provide consumables and spares. The primary destination is a lunar DRO. The propulsion system was removed for comparison purposes, but originally sized for refueling to permit a transfer to EML1 or EML2 orbit and orbital maintenance for up to 10 years. The C-1 Minimum Capability has one docking port on the end of the airlock for the Orion MPCV. The C-2 Full Capability has five additional docking ports, one on the opposite end dome and four radial ports to support logistics, FlexCraft, landers, and international elements.

The total mass of the C-1 Minimum Capability habitat is 21,788 kg with a pressurized volume of 496 m3 and a habitable volume of 353 m3. Unlike the ISS derived habitats, the 60-day and 180-day habitat configurations have the same mass and volume. The system is designed to launch all logistics required for three 60-day missions or any combination of mission durations up to 180 days for 4-crew prior to resupply.

The total mass of the C-2 Full Capability habitat is 27,434 kg with a pressurized volume of 662 m3 and a habitable volume of 519 m3.

Configuration C-3 Mars Transit Habitat

Configuration C-3 for the Mars Transit Habitat is shown in Fig. 10. It is designed to support 6-crew for 1000 days using a single large diameter module with an additional ring section at the aft end to accommodate two radial ports, and an attached airlock at the forward end with a docking port for the Orion MPCV. The radial ports accommodate a FlexCraft vehicle and an open port for docking to a Mars lander that would be pre-deployed in Mars orbit. The overall mission concept is similar to current design reference missions6, 7 except that it is aggregated and launched from the lunar DRO and uses higher TRL systems for propulsion and habitation. All logistics are stored within the module on all three decks, primarily along the outer walls to maximize radiation protection for the entire module.

External Configuration C-3 for the Mars Transit Habitat. The configuration for Mars transfer is similar to the C-2 Full Capability. The transit vehicle includes one EUS and three storable propellant stages for TMI, MOI, and TEI maneuvers. The Mars Transit Habitat and Orion MPCV are shown at the forward end of the vehicle stack.

The internal layouts for all three configurations are similar. The C-3 Mars Transit Habitat accommodates 6-crew and is extended to accommodate two radial ports.

The airlock at the forward end is equipped with a side EVA hatch for access to external systems . The interior of the C-3 Mars Transit Habitat uses a similar layout to the previous SLS derived habitats (Fig. 9). A floor plan is shown in Fig. 11, where the only difference is the accommodations for 6-crew and additional interior volume at the aft end for the two radial ports. The total mass of the C-3 Mars Transit Habitat is 41,369 kg with a pressurized volume of 662 m3 and a habitable volume of 440 m3.

habitat  concepts  for  Low  earth  orbit,  lunar  &  Mars  orbits  &  surface


The International Space Station (ISS) is composed of a Russian Orbital Segment developed by Russia Federal Space Agency,  a United States Orbital Segment (USOS) developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

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The USOS consists of pressurized habitable modules that are approximately 4.5 m in diameter with varying lengths between 5 and 11 meters. The sizes of these modules were dictated by the cargo bay size and lift capability of the Space Shuttle. 

There are several modules remaining in the ISS Program that have been considered for outfitting and utilization on orbit and were described in previous papers for ISS derived Deep Space Habitats. The modules considered included the habitat module (HAB), which was the structural test article for the Destiny module (LAB), the structural test article for the Unity module (Node 1), and two Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules (MPLM), Raffaello and Donatello. Although the Space Shuttle is no longer available to launch these modules, they could be used in future missions to deep space because they do fit within the payload capability of current Expendable Launch Vehicles (ELV). Modifications to the structural load path of the ISS modules or remanufacturing might be required, but the basic size is right for ELV delivery to orbit.

ISS Derived Concepts

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. It is likely that these designs could be implemented through the existing ISS International Partner agreements and produced through the existing ISS contracting mechanisms. In other words, these vehicles could become an extension of the existing ISS Program. Both ISS derived concepts were planned for launch on multiple ELV’s to the ISS for final assembly and outfitting.

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Configuration A is designed to support 4-crew for 500 days with a Node 1 element and two MPLMs. The second MPLM between the MPCV and Node is designed primarily for logistics storage and the additional systems needed for 500-day missions. If it were removed, the vehicle could still support 4-crew, but only for 60-day missions.

The 60-day habitat removes the second MPLM yielding a habitat mass of 30,007 kg with a pressurized volume of 185 m3 and a habitable volume of 76 m3. For comparative purposes, the 60-day configuration is considered suitable for all lunar vicinity missions

iss node 3

inside  ESA  SPACE  LAB 

Configuration B is designed to support 4-crew for 500 days with a HAB module element and one MPLM. The MPLM between the Orion MPCV and the HAB is designed primarily for logistics storage needed for 500-day missions. If it were removed, the vehicle could still support 4-crew, but only for 60-day missions.

The MPLM has two axial ports. One axial port has the MPCV attached and the other has a tunnel structure designed for use as an Airlock and a strong back for externally mounted solar arrays, batteries, and radiators. The other end of the tunnel has the primary HAB attached, containing the crew life support functions. Beyond the HAB is a notional EUS. The tunnel/airlock can accommodate an EVA hatch and the FlexCraft. An ISS derived robotic arm is also envisioned to be a part of the robotic systems available on this habitat.

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The habitable elements include the HAB module with all crew life support systems, a connecting tunnel/airlock, and a MPLM for logistics to support the mission crew size and duration.1 All internal equipment is built into the module for on orbit servicing and does not use the ISS rack system.

The total mass of the 500-day habitat is 45,573 kg with a pressurized volume of 193 m3 and a habitable volume of 90 m3.

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The Node 1 module is in the center of this configuration with the primary MPLM and connecting tunnel/airlock on the left axial port and the logistics MPLM on the right axial port. The interior layout uses the standard ISS rack system except for the crew quarter built in to the end dome of the primary MPLM.

The Node 1 radial ports contain a single person, free-flyer vehicle called FlexCraft on one side and an ISS derived Cupola on the other—both specifically designed to support robotic and EVA assembly and exploration operations. An ISS derived robotic arm is also envisioned to be a part of the robotic systems available on this Habitat. The other two radial ports are open for a commercial Logistics Resupply Module and an internationally developed reusable Lunar Lander.

Surrounding the crew quarters is a Water Wall for radiation protection, so the crew can retreat to their quarters during a Solar Particle Event (SPE). Not all of the primary and secondary systems could fit into the MPLM with this layout, so the racks in the Node are also used for life support functions.

The total mass of the 500-day Habitat is 49,578 kg with a pressurized volume of 281 m3 and a habitable volume of 108 m3. This configuration is considered suitable for the asteroid and Mars miss ions.

iss quest airlock


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Above you see Configuration A for the ISS Derived Node + Airlock + 1 & 2 MPLMs. The two habitats shown provide habitation for 4-crew on 60-day missions, or 500-day missions with the addition of a second MPLM. 

Click on it to see Bigger

Click on it to see Bigger

Above we have the Configuration B for the ISS Derived HAB + Airlock + MPLM. The two ISS derived habitats shown provide habitation for 4-crew on 60-day missions, or 500-day missions with the addition of a MPLM. 

Credit: "Habitat Concepts for Deep Space Exploration" by David Smitherman, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, 35812 and Brand N. Griffin of Gray Research, Huntsville, Alabama, 35806.

INternational  space  station  today

The International Space Station orbits 200 miles above our heads, hurtling around the Earth at 17500 thousand miles an hour. This film explores how the space station was made possible through a series of five engineering breakthroughs. Using high-end computer generated imagery that makes up 50% of the film, this film reveals the incredible stories behind these structures and the inventions that have pushed the boundaries of science. 

Photos of all the food we tasted at NASA here (space smoothies!): http://www.tested.com/science/space/4...
How does the dining experience in space compare to that on Earth? We visited NASA's Space Food Systems Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to learn about the history of space food and sample some of the same food that the astronauts on the International Space Station eat every day.

One of the most detailed tours of the ISS from American astronaut Steven Swanson!!!

Join ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti as she shows how astronauts on the International Space Station keep clean. During her 40-hour working week Samantha runs many experiments from Italy’s ASI space agency and ESA, and takes part in even more from scientists all over the world. Samantha is living and working on board the International Space Station as part of the six-strong Expedition 42 and 43 crew.

Follow her Future mission at http://samanthacristoforetti.esa.int.

The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest orbiting laboratory ever built.

The first parts of the ISS were sent and assembled in orbit in 1998. Since the year 2000, the ISS has had crews living continuously on board. Building the ISS is like living in a house while constructing it at the same time. Building and sustaining the ISS requires 80 launches on several kinds of rockets over a 12-year period. 

When fully complete, the ISS will weigh about 420,000 kilograms (925,000 pounds). It will measure 74 meters (243 feet) long by 110 meters (361 feet) wide. This is equivalent to a football field, including the end zones. The pressurized volume will be 935 cubic meters (33,023 cubic feet), larger than a five-bedroom house. The solar array surface area will be 2,500 square meters (27,000 square feet), which is an acre of solar panels and enough to power 10 averagesized homes with 110 kilowatts of power.

The ISS orbits between 370 and 460 kilometers (230–286 miles) above Earth’s surface. The ISS orbits at a 51.6-degree inclination around Earth. This angle covers 90 percent of the populated area of Earth. Every 3 days, the ISS passes over the same place on Earth. It takes about 90 minutes for the ISS to circle Earth one time. The ISS orbits Earth 16 times per day, so astronauts can see 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets each day!

During the daylight periods, temperatures reach 200 ºC, while temperatures during the night periods drop to -200 ºC. The view of Earth from the ISS reveals part of the planet, not the whole planet.