The next lunar space station will have small dwellings

The next lunar space station will have small dwellings
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An illustration of the lunar gateway in orbit around the Moon.

An illustration of the lunar gateway in orbit around the Moon.
Illustration: POT

architects who design the living space for the next moon gateway did the best he could to make it comfortable for the astronauts, but technical limitations forced them to create a noisy little corridor without windows and barely enough space to standright.

The European-international Built Environment, either I-Hab, is intended to provide accommodation for astronauts aboard the moon gate, a future outpost that will orbit the Moon. The purpose of Gateway, a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and other international partners, is to provide a place for astronauts to conduct scientific activities in lunar orbit and to transfer from one spacecraft to another, such as a lunar lander. B.ut an architect involved in the I-Hab design recently revealed the claustrophobic conditions for the orbital habitat that is supposed to house up to four astronauts for about 90 days at a time.

related story: What You Should Know About Lunar Gateway, NASA’s Future Lunar Orbiting Space Station

During the Czech Space Week conference in Brno, Czechia (the country formerly known as the Czech Republic Republic)René Waclavicek, a space architect and design researcher at LIQUIFER Space Systems, based in Austria, said Lunar Gateway will be about one-sixth the size of the International Space Station (ISS), reported. Waclavicek, who was involved in the I-Hab design, said the architects behind the lunar dwellings were limited by the amount of material they used. can be transported to the Moon, requiring them to do some sacrifices.

I centerwill have a living space of about 8 cubic meters [280 cubic feet] and you will have to share it with three others”, Waclavicek saying during the conference. In other words, that would be a 2 by 2 by 2 meter room. [6.6 by 6.6 by 6.6 feet], and you’re locked in there.

By comparison, the ISS stretches about 357 feet (108 meters) from end to end, and is essentially a five-bedroom orbital complex complete with a gym, two bathrooms, and a 360-degree window with an enviable view of our planet. native.

A view of the Moon wouldn’t be bad either, except I-Hab won’t be equipped with the same luxury. “We always get asked ‘where is the window?’,” Waclavicek said. “The moon is a thousand times farther away [than the ISS] and each window is a disturbance in the continuity of the structure. Also, glass is very heavy, so a window is the first thing to cancel.” The Gateway will have windows, although not in the homes. Instead, the ESPRIT refueling module will have small windows, according to Waclavicek.

With an extremely restricted view of the surroundings. cosmosastronauts will have a hard time relaxing during their downtime—especially how they are being accompanied by the robotic hum of the machinery on board. “Actually, you are living in a machine room,” Waclavicek said. “Life support systems are noisy, they have a lot of fans, and you have [a tiny amount] of private space where you can close the door and control the noise.”

The architect admits that they started with a design for larger dwellings, but had to scale back due to mass restrictions for the lunar outpost. As a result, astronauts will be crammed inside a small tube for the duration of its mission around the Moon. “[The I-Hab] It’s really just a cylinder with a hatch at each end and two hatches on the sides and a corridor running through the longitudinal axis,” he said. “Even if you want to get past each other, it’s hard enough, you have to interrupt whatever you’re doing at the moment to let the other [person] go through you.” It will be a small environment, to be sure, but it is important to remember that a capsule, namely NASA’s Orion spacecraft, will be attached to the gateway station during these missions, which will allow for some added corner room. Lunar landers, like SpaceX’s upcoming Starship, will also dock with the Gateway.

NASA’s Artemis program is official underway, having starting in November 2022 with the mugwort release 1. Unlike Apollo, Artemis is designed to establish a sustainable astronaut presence on and around the Moon, with the Lunar Gateway being an essential part of the mission objective.

The first components of the Lunar Gateway could reach orbit as early as 2024, but I-Hab isn’t expected to arrive there until 2027. The dwellings may not sound like they’ll provide a pleasant onboard experience, but they’ll likely contribute some valuable science on Earth’s natural satellite and beyond.

More: Texas company wins $57 million from NASA to develop lunar construction technology

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