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SpaceDev International Lunar Observatory Human Servicing Mission

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Uploaded on Aug 9, 2010

The aerospace firm SpaceDev announced in November of 2005 the resultsof its International Lunar Observatories ("ILO") Human Servicing Mission study conducted on behalf of Lunar Enterprise Corporation S.A. (LEC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Space Age Publishing.

A study has focused on how best to return people to the Moon, reporting that lunar missions can be done for under US$10 billion. The multi-phased study concluded that safe, low cost missions can be completed by the private sector using existing technology. Each mission would position a habitat module in lunar orbit or on the moon's surface. The habitat modules would remain in place after each mission and could be re-provisioned and re-used, thus building a complex of habitats at one or more lunar locations over time. In outlining their study findings, SpaceDev has blueprinted a conceptual mission architecture and design for a human servicing mission to the lunar south pole - targeted for the period between 2010 and 2015. The length of stay on the Moon would be seven or more days - depending on cost, practicality and other issues. The SpaceDev study explored a range of technologies that would be needed: hardware that existed, or under development, and proposed technology that NASA or other nations could spearhead - or might be developed by the private sector in time to be incorporated into lunar operations. A combination of technology already under development by companies could be combined to create a growing and lasting presence at the Moon at costs significantly lower than those proposed by other organizations. Along with a look at how best to stage Earth/Moon transportation, one novel approach to dispatching people onto the Moon is the "rocket chair". The rocket chair idea, as envisioned by SpaceDev, would be modular and dual purpose. The hardware could land small lunar observatories or other science gear on the lunar terrain. It could also lower individuals from lunar orbit onto the Moon. According to a SpaceDev, the rocket chairs have the added feature of carrying sufficient propellant to ascend back to the command module for the return trip to Earth. In fact, on the way to the Moon - should a problem develop - rocket chairs, attached to the outbound capsule - have enough fuel to return the capsule to Earth for a direct atmospheric re-entry.

Credits: SpaceDev, Inc.

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