When following the development and evolution of the Space Station Design Workshop in the last few years, you should have noticed the emergence of the design tasks beyond low Earth orbit and typical space station activities, but involving many aspects of human space exploration like transportation and staging to new destinations. Likewise, the methodology and tools involved have been extended and updated, allowing the SSDW 2009 for the first time to investigate human presence on another planetary body, our Moon.
Returning to our home campus at Stuttgart University, the SSDW team introduced an even more challenging task to the interdisciplinary and international participants. However, all of this would not have been possible without the support from sponsors and contributing individuals, namely the Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) of the Faculty for Aerospace Engineering, the European Space Agency ESA, the “Stiftungen Landesbank Baden Württemberg”, the “Robert-Bosch-Stiftung”, Habitats for Extreme Environements (HE-Squared), Ms. Irene Lia Schlacht (TU Berlin), Smart Technologies, and the Planetarium Stuttgart.
Out of a significantly larger pool of applications, 31 students and young professionals were invited to the SSDW 2009, coming from 11 nationalities worldwide and with backgrounds not only in aerospace engineering, but also architecture, psychology, physics, and other engineering disciplines. In two competing teams the participants were tasked with the development of an international lunar base concept to be completed until 2025 for extended human presence of up to 180 days. Both teams developed very different solutions, placing their base infrastructure at polar (Team BLUE) and equatorial (Team RED) locations, and involving diverse subsystem technologies to cope with the specifics of each environment.
The SSDW 2009 took advantage of the newly aquired infrastructure of the Concurrent Design Facility of the Faculty for Aerospace Engineering of Stuttgart University, supervised by Johannes Gross, providing excellent working environment for both teams in their local design team rooms. Outside of the technical program, social events like a welcome dinner, a visit to the Stuttgart Planetarium, and evening excursions into the Stuttgart nightlife contributed to the constant motivation of all participants.
The international and professional response to and interest in the SSDW 2009 results, both of value for the IRS as well as ongoing ESA and international design work, confirmed once again the value of the SSDW approach. Work on the technical results will continue in the future, while staff is already working on the preparation for SSDW 2010.
With the first analysis of planetary surface installations on the Moon, SSDW 2009 opened a new chapter in the workshop history. This step even further completed the capabilities of the design environment for orbital stations, near-Earth and interplanetary transfers and planetary surface missions.
SSDW 2009 was held once again at the local premises of the IRS in Stuttgart, Germany. 31 students and young professionals from 11 nationalities and with diverse backgrounds in engineering, architecture and psychology were selected from a large applicant pool and invited to the University of Stuttgart from 26 to 31 July 2009 for a truly international, multidisciplinary challenge. The participants formed two competing design teams, tagged RED and BLUE and faced an intense one-week program.
After the welcome and introduction, the first three days included half-day lectures addressing critical aspects of human space mission design, while the participants already engaged in workshop sessions during the afternoons. This hands-on design team work started early in the timeline and grew in importance throughout the workshop, where full days were dedicated to systems and subsystems engineering, modeling, simulation and concept refinement. Even though densely packed with project work, the SSDW also encouraged socializing between the participants during cultural activities on most evenings.
The SSDW 2009 task assumed growing interest, technology development, and coordination for lunar exploration at international level. As such, continued operation of ISS for preparation and technology maturation and the manned activities of the US, Russia and China would be complemented by European and Japanese assets for transportation of cargo and potentially crew at a later stage.
In particular, the outpost shall:
- provide initial habitation capabilities for extended surface stays no later than 2025
- accommodate a crew of at least 4 astronauts for missions to the lunar surface of up to 180 days at assembly complete
- provide safe haven capabilities for a crew of 4 astronauts for up to 14 days
- provide growth potential towards a sustainable permanent lunar base including commercial partners after 2030
- offer the possibility to conduct research on human aspects as well as on technology for long-term surface operations on Moon and Mars
- outline a significant contribution and visibility of Europe in the international program
The two design teams considered various options within the specified frame of the mission statement, both at systems and subsystems level. Two distinctly different approaches were chosen for detailed assessment, characterized primarily through the site selection in the equatorial region (Team RED) and the South Pole (Team BLUE).
Design Results Summary
The following table gives some key facts about the design concepts. For a detailed description of subsystems as well as design evaluation of the design work performed, see the SSDW 2009 Final Report (Download available here) or contact the SSDW staff.
Final Presentation / Reception