An architect involved in the station’s design said the living quarters on NASA’s lunar orbiting Gateway station would be so small that astronauts would not be able to stand inside.
NASA and its international partners plan to start building gate station in the orbit of the Moon for the next two years. When completed near the end of the decade, the space lab will be about one-sixth the size International Space Station (ISS), which includes two housing units that will force crew members to give up personal space.
“The international housing unit will have a habitable area of about 8 cubic metres [280 cubic feet] Rene Waklaveczyk, aerospace engineer and design researcher at LIQUIFER Space Systems based in Austria, said in a statement. Czech Space Week conference in Brno (Opens in a new tab)Czech Republic, on November 30, 2022. “In other words, it will be a 2 x 2 x 2 meter room [6.6 by 6.6 by 6.6 feet]. And you are trapped there. There are other rooms, but they are not larger and there are not many of them.
Waclavicek participated in the design phase An international housing unit built in Europe (Opens in a new tab)or I-Hab, which is one of Gateway’s habitable items, mainly bedrooms with lab space (the other factor is Housing and logistics outpost (Opens in a new tab)HALO, developed by Northrop Grumman in the United States).
Waclavicek said when working on the design, the architects had to submit to the practical demands dictated by the nature of the project. Their initial hopes for larger modules, offering a more generous volume of habitable space such as that available on the International Space Station, had to be abandoned because of the impossibility of launching massive components into space. Moon.
“We started in the first stage with a cylinder with external dimensions similar to what we know from the International Space Station,” Waklaveczyk said. This is about 4.5 metres [15 feet] diam. and 6 m [20 feet] Long. But due to mass restrictions, we had to reduce it to 3 meters [10 feet] in external dimensions. This left us with an internal cross-section of only 1.2m by 1.2m [4 feet by 4 feet]. The machines take up most of the internal volume, so it’s basically just a corridor, where you have to turn 90 degrees if you want to stretch out.”
The International Space Station, with its interiors 7.2 by 7.2 feet (2.2 by 2.2 meters), is where astronauts can perform Gymnastic actions in spaceIt offers a luxurious experience compared to what awaits lunar explorers at the gate.
“[The I-Hab] It’s really just a cylinder, said Waklaveczyk, with a hole at each end, two gates on either side, and a passage through the length axis. You do at the moment to let the other fellow pass by you.”
Somehow, the architects managed to incorporate about 53 cubic feet (1.5 cubic meters) of private space protected by closing doors for each crew member living inside the i-Hab. But the experience of staying aboard the gate will be challenging for more reasons than cramped living quarters alone. As Waclavicek said, most of the unit will be occupied by noisy, vibrating life-support technology, the constant buzzing of which would likely be excruciatingly painful on most humans’ nerves.
“Actually, you live in a machine room,” said Waklaveczyk. “Life support systems make noise, they have a lot of fans, and you only have 1.5 cubic meters of private space where you can close the door and tame the noise.”
Engineers figured out ways to relieve stress on the crew and make the experience of staying aboard the Gateway more enjoyable, but they continued to push technical limits, including those of the launch vehicles available to send the module to its destination.
“They’re always asked, ‘Where’s the window?'” Waklaveczyk said. “.” On the International Space Station, the most popular place where astronauts spend every free minute is the window. But there are technical problems associated with it. The moon is a thousand times farther away [than the ISS] And each window is a disturbance in the continuity of the structure. Also, the glass is very heavy, so the window is the first thing to be scrapped.
However, there will be smaller windows on the portal, located in the ESPRIT fueling unit, which will also be built in Europe.
While the US HALO module may launch as early as 2024, an I-Hab trip to the Moon is not expected before 2027. Waklavesk said the team is currently working on a critical design review, an important milestone before hardware manufacturing begins, and has begun to Build a life-size model to test human interaction with the habitat environment.
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