Development of a Partial Gravity Lunar Airlock

by David John Gutierrez, Johnson Engineering Corp, Houston, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space IV


The Planetary Projects Office (PPO) at the Johnson Space Center is developing design reference missions for human exploration of the Moon and Mars. Missions for both planets require a reliable infrastructure capable of transferring crews and cargo from Earth to a planet surface. Such an infrastructure system includes; launch vehicles, orbiting vehicles, landers, rovers, habitats and airlocks. One surface element that requires special attention is a lunar airlock. The airlock element is a transitional pressurizable volume used to transfer crew and cargo between a habitat and the lunar surface. The airlock is an important surface element which is used to support: human exploration; logistics; maintenance, repair & inspection of external systems/elements; medical emergencies; and contingency operations. The airlock in a planetary scenario, functions as the front door, back door and life line between the habitat and return vehicle/rover for the crew; it also may be a critical link in the resupply network of habitat consumables.

Subject Headings: Vehicles | Space colonies | Human factors | Planets | Space structures | Space exploration | Orbits | Logistics

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