FLEXhab working module: architectural requirements and prototyping for a lunar base analogue

Analogues and simulations play an important role in preparation for space exploration. They allow us to test experiments before sending them into space, develop countermeasures for the special conditions, or study human behaviour in similar environments. The so called FLEXhab, Future Lunar Exploration Habitat, will serve as a lunar base analogue in order to create a training and experimental environment at the European Astronaut Center, EAC. The design of a potential lunar base is very much affected by the specific environmental conditions. Therefore, these are analysed to implement the effects into the analogue, with the goal to create a similar interior and to test countermeasures for specific challenges. Additionally, the potential tasks carried out inside a lunar base are influencing the habitat design, as well as the analogue and are therefore transferred into possible use-cases for FLEXhab. This paper presents a design for the interior of the FLEXhab working module, based on a previously developed concept. (O. Punch, T. Dijkshoorn, Spaceship EAC, 2016) Furthermore, the so called FLEXrack is presented, a recently developed movable rack system. The concept will increase flexibility for exploration module design and increase the available space for tasks and experiments inside the module. To give a first impression of the design and the FLEXrack concept operationally, a prototype is built and evaluated at the EAC. Finally, design requirements for the final design of FLEXhab, the integration of FLEXrack within FLEXhab, as well as for analogues in general are presented.

Project Year


Team Members

MDipl.-Ing. Manfred Thallner

Advisor TU Wien: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. Sandra Häuplik-Meusburger

Advisor ESA: Dr. Aidan Cowley


Credits: Manfred Thallner, Developed at Spaceship EAC, Cologne in the course of a Diploma (Master Thesis), TU Wien, 2018

Further Information

FLEXhab working module