European landers and low Lunar orbit Space Station concepts

by | Sep 3, 2008 | exploration | 2 comments

The above image shows the current concept for a European low lunar orbit space station that would act as a refeuling depot, as a staging point and as a safe haven if disaster struck. At the node’s nadir port a cylindrical lander with suit ports is ready to descend to the lunar surface while at the forward longitudinal port there is what appears to be a Crew Space Transportation System capsule with its Automated Transfer Vehicle-derived service module

This European Space Agency image shows an interior concept for CSTS with six crew and the pilot stations on the lower level. The seat arrangement is different to the design recently released by Rocket and space Corporation Energia  

click on any of the images below to see a larger version in the same browser window

Above is the Energia concept for CSTS showing an interior with seats arranged opposite to each other. I would imagine the final CSTS seating arrangement will be determined once the packaging of all the capsule subsystems is finalised

The station’s service module and node would be launched separately from Earth using a 50,000kg (110,000lb) to  low Earth orbit (LEO) capable Ariane rocket and would make a lunar orbit rendezvous. Thales envisages the notional docking to take place in 2024.

To compliment its LLO space station design Thales has its 9,300kg Meduim Lander concept (ESA has three lander concepts, small, medium, large) – pictured below. It would be launched directly to the space station using a 23,000kg to LEO capable Ariane 5 ESC-B variant and its upper/Earth departure stage

The roadmap below has tethered flights by 2016 and Moon operations at some undetermined point in time

The RHU acronym on the above image stands for radioactive heating unit. It is one of the systems being considered, along with chemical reactors, to ensure the lander can survive the lunar night. Thales’ concept would operate for 15-days

However Thales is not the only company to have a cylindrical lander, this is the Astrium, Lockheed Martin concept. I hope to be talking soon to the Lockheed engineers involved in this work to get more detail

While Astrium’s idea is a lander that can be evolved for both Moon and Mars

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