Orbiting Depot and Reusable Lander for Lunar Transportation
- Created: Friday, 01 May 2009
A document describes a conceptual transportation system that would support exploratory visits by humans to locations dispersed across the surface of the Moon and provide transport of humans and cargo to sustain one or more permanent Lunar outpost. The system architecture reflects requirements to (1) minimize the amount of vehicle hardware that must be expended while maintaining high performance margins and (2) take advantage of emerging capabilities to produce propellants on the Moon while also enabling efficient operation using propellants transported from Earth.
The system would include reusable single-stage lander spacecraft and a depot in a low orbit around the Moon. Each lander would have descent, landing, and ascent capabilities. A crew-taxi version of the lander would carry a pressurized crew module; a cargo version could carry a variety of cargo containers. The depot would serve as a facility for storage and for refueling with propellants delivered from Earth or propellants produced on the Moon. The depot could receive propellants and cargo sent from Earth on a variety of spacecraft. The depot could provide power and orbit maintenance for crew vehicles from Earth and could serve as a safe haven for lunar crews pending transport back to Earth.
This work was done by Andrew Petro of Johnson Space Center. MSC-24231-1