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  • "Common base" surface facilities for the space exploration initiative

    Paper ID



    • Eric F. Laursen
    • Carlton H. Jones Jr.
    • John Niehoff


    Lockheed Missiles & Spaces Company, Inc.






    The concept of an Earth/Moon/Mars "Common Base" is presented. Such a base is built around a core of technologies, equipment, and structures defined to achieve maximum commonality among the three locations, thereby reducing development risk and cost, and maximizing programmatic flexibility. Two key elements of the concept are 1) the definition of the ultimate Mars facility as the primary requirements driver for the overall Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) and the multiple implementations of the Common Base, and 2) the establishment of one or more high fidelity "Earth Bases" to allow for the test, demonstration, and validation of base hardware and systems under semi-realistic operating conditions. Development of Mars facility requirements starts with a man-loading model intended to take the results of a traditional functional analysis and define the crew complement needed to perform desired functions; this, along with mass and resource models and scaling laws, determines the top-level architecture of the base. The "Earth Bases" are intended to expand upon the concept of conventional simulation facilities. They provide long-term operational experience with the "Common Base" systems by applying them to the support of actual research, exploration, and construction in remote sites on Earth, where the primary activities being conducted may or may not be directly related to SEI. The relevant experience from several existing remote site facilities on Earth is discussed, as are the similarities and differences between the Earth, Moon, and Mars bases. The importance of Closed Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) as an example of a core technology for an open-ended long-term program such as a planetary surface base is addressed. Finally, the potential benefits to the Space Exploration Initiative that result from these types of efforts are discussed.