HAVEN – Lunar Port and Base
HAVEN – Lunar Port and Base is the design for a lunar arrival port, with special focus on the long-term habitat. It is located on a ridge between Shackleton and De Glerache craters at the Lunar South Pole. The larger HAVEN compound includes a launch and landing pad, energy and resource facilities, a storage hangar for lunar lander components, and a long-term habitat, which is designed for versatile, fast changing crew occupations. A permanent crew of four astronauts lives at HAVEN to coordinate the arrival procedures, run the habitat, and work on research and exploration projects. This permanent crew stays for the maximum duration of a lunar mission, 180 days. In addition, HAVEN hosts changing guest crews – these are the astronauts that arrive at the lunar port. After arriving on the moon they will need to acclimatise to lunar gravity and learn to conduct procedures in 1/6G. This acclimatisation and training phase lasts for five to ten days, during which the guest crews stay at the HAVEN habitat and get instructed by the permanent crew. They then move on to their respective own long-term outposts or mission headquarters. Housing two different crews – one permanent working crew and one fast changing short-time guest crew – poses a number of significant challenges to privacy and workflow procedures. However, at the same time it offers the possible benefits of a more diverse circle of social interaction and an larger community, which is often lacking on extra-terrestrial outposts. The architectural setup of HAVEN therefore answers to the privacy challenge of these two subcrews, while still enabling communications and personal exchange. The design focuses on flexibility and multiplexing, as well as finding a balance between private and shared areas by offering varieties from completely private over semi-private to community space. The habitat itself consists of a rigid centre component and an inflatable module in the shape of a torus with oblate sides. The inflatable, multi-layer shell is folded around the riding part during launch and landing, using a system of external folding which allows the interior of the rigid module to be used for in-flight storage. In its packaged state, the whole module, as well as a lander and additional cargo fits into an SLS Block 1B launcher. With 587m3 of habitable volume, the inflatable provides a crucial extension to the 80m3 of the rigid module. In it’s packaged state, the whole habitat takes up a volume of 187m3. The construction of the HAVEN habitat relies on a multi-stage process, starting with a prestaging phase during which the necessary support equipment and habitat modules are placed on the Moon. The site on the ridge between Shackleton De Gerlache is prepared and excavated, using a hybrid process of pneumatic and percussive digging. Subsequently the packaged module as well as any support modules, such as the two airlocks and the greenhouse, are placed and in a next step deployed. Several further robotic construction steps ensure a safe connection of the modules and internal structure, as well as the installation of the radiation shielding. The final construction phase, including the interior outfitting, is done by a first human crew. HAVEN’s radiation and micro meteoroid shielding makes use of the in situ resource regolith, as well as of the discarded propulsion tanks of the descent stages of lunar landers. Instead of adding these empty tanks to the lunar junkyard, they are removed from the lander and filled with regolith during the pneumatic excavation process. This offers several remarkable benefits, namely a immediate safe disposal of the excavated material during the pneumatic process and great time efficiency, as this can run simultaneously with the excavation stage. Furthermore, this approach prevents the need to launch additional machinery to create the regolith shielding to the Moon and provides the opportunity to re-use the discarded lander components. The regolith filled tanks are placed around the habitat to serve as horizontal shielding, while additional regolith-filled bags cover the habitat’s top. The habitat itself is spread over two levels – a surface and a subsurface level, which are connected over a lunar staircase in the rigid centre module. In order to ensures safe and undisturbed working processes, as well as sufficient privacy, despite the two different crews, access limitations were implemented in the spatial layout. This means that, for example, certain research or control areas are only accessible to the permanent crew while other areas of the habitat stay open to all the eight crew members to encourage a social exchange. On the surface level, the entrance to the habitat lies via two airlocks. A greenhouse module supports the crew’s nutritional diet. The surface level is where the working areas, as well as the wardroom and galley are set. It’s where the astronauts spend most of the day. The central rigid part serves as the connection between the working areas, as well as a green gallery. Here the astronauts can enjoy a breather in between work by watching the stars through the Cupola window above or interacting with the plants on the greenwall. The communications and control centre, doubling as research and work space, is where the permanent crew runs the lunar port from and conducts their research. The whole area, as well as the airlock it leads to are only accessibly to the permanent crew and can be closed off from the rest of the habitat. A separate training area is where the guest crew is instructed. It’s a very flexible space that can be divided into two smaller units. It also serves as the guest crew’s work area if needed and thus the accessibility and privacy levels can change depending on the need. A small communication chamber with insulation blankets allows private conversations with Earth. The large wardroom and galley encourages has no access limitations and encourages both crews to interact during mealtimes. One level below lies the subsurface level. As this is the best shielded part of the habitat it is also where the crew quarters are located. The respective quarters of the guest crew and permanent crew are separated spatially – they are located on opposite sides of the habitat. The hygiene and laundry units on the one side and the workout area on the other side further provide spatial and visual separation. In the middle, however, a central crew lounge connects the quarters. If desired, all quarters can be opened towards the lounge or shielded off with sliding walls. The crews are encouraged to spend their leisure time together in this large shared area, however, each subcrew also has a small space on their side of the habitat to spend private time amongst each other. The subsurface level furthermore contains a small sickbay with medical lab, which could offer additional sleeping space in case of a larger crew handover. The workout area is designed with flexibility in mind – sliding walls let the crew chose between several small or one large workout area and offer various workout options. The crew quarters themselves vary in size between the permanent and guest crew. While the Crew Pods are smaller than the quarters of the permanent crew, they still aim to provide maximum privacy and liveability during the short stay. The pods are only 150cm high and stacked on top of each other. The lunar gravity makes the upper pod easily accessible. On 3m2 and only 4.5m3, they offer some storage possibility for items needed during a short-duration stay. Light and ventilation can be adjusted individually. The entry hatches are made from tonable glass to let the astronaut decide on the amount of interaction or privacy. In comparison, with 4,3m2 but 9.8m3, the permanent crew quarters are much larger. They allow the inhabitants to stand and move in an upright position, offer more storage for long-term items and more possibilities to individualise the space. On of the main design focuses here was to create a flexible room schedule: The permanent crew’s quarters can be used as a fully private area during the night and as a small private work area during the day. Simple pull out profiles in the bed structure allow a quick adaption of the room for an intimate gathering of two crew members. The bed can furthermore be extended to host two people, in case two crew members want to share a quarter. Overall the deign of HAVEN focuses on creating possibilities and flexibility, to offer the astronauts the choice to create their own living space and chose their own levels of privacy and interaction with each other.
Author: Sabrina Kerber (TU Wien)
Supervisor: Sandra-Häuplik-Meusburger (TU Wien)
Credits: Sabrina Kerber.
Project in the course of a Diploma (Master Thesis), Vienna University of Technology, 2020