Vanguard: A Common Habitable Module for Future Space Endeavors

TitleVanguard: A Common Habitable Module for Future Space Endeavors
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsCarpenter LD, Akin DL
Conference NameAIAA Space 2017 Conference and Exposition
Date Published09/2017
Conference LocationOrlando, Florida

This paper investigates the potential for taking a single generic habitat design and adapting it for use at a number of potential human exploration targets, including on-orbit, on or near small solar system bodies, or on the surface of the Moon or Mars. The paper reviews the design of Vanguard, a four-person inflatable habitat sized for launch on a Falcon Heavy or larger vehicle as a supplement or, ultimately, a replacement for the International Space Station in low Earth orbit. The first extension of the application domain of the habitat is as a “Deep Space Habitat” in a periodic distant orbit of the Moon, where it is no longer shielded from radiation by the Earth’s magnetic fields. The next step in terms of habitat modifications is to support human exploration of near-Earth objects or the moons of Mars, where the habitat will be located on the surface of the body and the internal systems will have to accommodate milligee-level gravitation. Extending habitat applications to the surface of the Moon or Mars changes the nature of the design from microgravity to substantial gravitational levels, with entirely separate challenges in landing the habitat on the Moon as compared to entry, descent, and landing on Mars. The final application of interest is the use of multiple Vanguard modules to create an artificial-gravity research station, using active wire tension elements to support the structures and damp out oscillations. Results of this study indicate that the investment in the development and implementation of a small modular LEO habitat will reap dividends due to its application across a broad spectrum of future exploration applications.