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Figure LCC-6. Initial Conservative Scenario. Estimated costs across time for the baseline Evolvable Lunar Architecture.

Figure LCC-6. Initial Conservative Scenario. Estimated costs across time for the baseline Evolvable Lunar Architecture.

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Article
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This study’s primary purpose was to assess the feasibility of new approaches for achieving our national goals in space. NexGen assembled a team of former NASA executives and engineers who assessed the economic and technical viability of an “Evolvable Lunar Architecture” (ELA) that leverages commercial capabilities and services that are existing or...

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... An alternative approach results from recent evidence of ice at the lunar poles [6]: propellant could be produced from lunar resources and used either on the lunar surface [2,[7][8][9] or in cis-lunar space [4,[10][11][12][13]. Producing propellant at the location of demand has been shown to enable self-sufficiency [14] and reduce the need for propellant to be pushed through the 15+ km/s of Δ required to reach the lunar surface from Earth. ...
... Miller et al. [12] developed an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that would perform commercial mining of propellant from the lunar poles to be used for NASA missions to Mars. The authors noted that "[a] commercial lunar base providing propellant in lunar orbit might substantially reduce the cost and risk [to] NASA of sending humans to Mars." ...
Conference Paper
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NASA is preparing to return humans to the lunar surface as a first step to a human exploration campaign of Mars. Both a sustained lunar campaign and a campaign of missions to Mars will require tens to hundreds of tonnes of propellant. Although this propellant could be delivered from Earth, an alternative approach is to use the potentially vast quantities of lunar ice to enable in-situ propellant production on the lunar surface. This study evaluates the cost breakeven for using lunar-derived propellants, as opposed to those delivered from Earth, in support of an extended human exploration campaign with both a multi-year presence on the Moon as well as multiple crewed missions to Mars. In so doing, the value of lunar propellant production is considered in the context of future exploration priorities, addressing the question: over what range of human missions to the lunar surface and Mars does in-situ propellant production trade favorably with propellant delivery from Earth on the basis of cost? The results of this analysis show that the magnitude and duration of the lunar campaign, more so than the Mars campaign, drive the breakeven and that without long lifetime ISRU systems, with greater than 5 years of autonomous operation before replacement, the demand in cis-lunar space for a Mars campaign favors propellant delivery from Earth.
... Having fully deployed cost-effective propellant production facilities and refueling systems would make many goals more accessible, fueling exploration missions as well as entirely new ways of doing business in space. 5 These findings lead to the conclusion that there is already an existing interest in developing a lunar propellant outpost, and that the actual development would considerably extend and influence the forthcoming markets. ...
... AR has conducted research into the wide variety of technologies, both past and present, being deployed and utilized to provide the sustained logistics support for a cross-section of advanced commercial and government sponsored extreme projects within the United States and throughout other regions of the Earth. These areas of research were selected with the intent that they have potential analogous counterparts to future extreme projects to be conducted on the lunar surface or could potentially represent a portion of the lunar architecture itself 37 . By taking this approach, we have gained significant insight into the need for and benefits of a transportation system architecture that is very mission flexible and agile by the nature of the vehicles overall design. ...
Conference Paper
Lunar Surface Logistical Capability: A Study of Spacecraft Needed to Support Human Habitation, Scientific Research, and Commercial Operations on the Lunar Surface Abstract In 2018, NASA revealed plans for human space exploration moving forward into the 2020’s. The focus of these evolving plans, for the next decade, will be the launch, assembly and operation of the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway (LOPG). This new and highly innovative plan is the next logical step in the development of a workable international Earth-Moon transportation system. The Gateway will achieve dual purposes. First, it will open up Cis-Lunar Space for a multitude of robotic and manned missions to the lunar surface in ever increasing frequency, duration, and purpose. Ultimately, the Gateway is the first step leading to a permanent human presence on the lunar surface. Second, it will provide the manned Orion Spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) transported payloads and other manned/robotic commercial spacecraft, a support facility from which to conduct both short and long duration science missions deeper into the solar system and ultimately to achieve cis-Mars operations, planetary orbit and manned surface operations at Mars. In support of the Gateway, and looking beyond the Gateway, NASA has outlined that organization’s initial need for a lander vehicle architecture to initially achieve small (50kg-100kg) payload robotic scientific mission delivery to the lunar surface. These light lander missions would then be followed by manned lunar missions in the late 2020’s. For these missions, NASA has determined that NASA will need a man-rated lander capable of delivering heavier payloads to the lunar surface, and also having a return to orbit capability, with these vehicles being in the 5000kg-6000kg payload class. The initial architecture of lander capabilities are to be acquired through the “Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Contract” for which an RFP was issued in 2018. In this paper, Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) is focused on what comes after CLPS. The paper identifies the need for highly reusable, modularly designed spacecraft that are both highly logistically capable and mission flexible. These include vehicles that can ascend to orbit and return to the surface, accomplish extended surface flight operations, have orbital and lunar surface refueling capability, and be easily serviced through their design and their use of component line replaceable units (LRU). The paper describes the family of vehicles that will be needed to support extended or permanent human habitation, extended scientific research, and ultimately small and large commercial operations on the lunar surface. The adaptation and modifications necessary for evolving the lunar vehicle architecture into a Mars surface vehicle architecture, will also be briefly explored.
... For example, the cost of transporting 1 kg of mass to Mars is estimated at 600,000 dollars (Vargic, 2016). A permanent industrial lunar base for four astronauts would cost 40 billion dollars ( ± 30%) and have annual operating costs of 7.35 billion dollars (Miller et al., 2015). The operating expense is calculated with the assumption that all resources brought from Earth are recycled to the maximum extent possible. ...
... Development of resource recovering systems is also important for terrestrial applications, such as decentralized wastewater systems, as well as isolated locations (polar bases, etc.). It will also increase resilience during disasters and will aid in the mitigation of the degradation of the environment by reducing the consumption of resources (Miller et al., 2015). ...
Article
Extraterrestrial colonization is a certain eventuality that would be nearly impossible without the efficient and robust resources of recovering life support systems. Knowledge of inputs is necessary for the development of such systems, especially for the first stages of design such as mass balancing and the selection of unitary processes. One of the most important inputs is blackwater, as this stream is the most polluted and rich in resources and needs to be treated and reused. In the paper, data from space missions and terrestrial sources concerning the flows, concentrations and loads in urine and feces are compared and analyzed. It is shown that results obtained during space missions are scarce and for many parameters no information is available. It is also shown how gravity influences the elemental composition of urine and feces. In contrast, data from terrestrial sources are abundant. The presented analysis shows that data from space and terrestrial systems are convergent for many parameters and that the available terrestrial data for those parameters can be used for mass balancing and unitary process selection without a high risk.
... Miller et al. developed an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that would perform commercial mining of propellant from the lunar poles to be used for NASA missions to Mars [8]. The authors noted that "[a] commercial lunar base providing propellant in lunar orbit might substantially reduce the cost and risk [to] NASA of sending humans to Mars." ...
... Finally, the fast-maturing private space industry will play a prominent role in such missions, bringing new insight and providing innovative solutions, technologies, and a youthful and agile workforce to accomplish such a complex mission in a speedy manner 30 ...
Conference Paper
In the effort to establish a settlement on Mars, Phobos, a moon of Mars, has been proposed as a way point to set up an exploration base as well as a teleoperations platform to explore and select promising locations, and eventually establish a settlement on the surface of Mars. However, the cost to establish a base on Phobos may be similar in time and resources to directly establishing a settlement on Mars. To attain clarity on which method may achieve the most desired result extensive real time telerobotic activities are proposed to be conducted from a self-sufficient Interplanetary Teleoperations Vehicle (IPTV) orbiting in Mars vicinity while performing additional science on Phobos with the aid of landers. This paper will present the general components of the IPTV capable of transporting and sustaining six crew members to, at, and from Mars vicinity with considerations for assembly and construction in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). Trajectories, propulsion, data and communication systems, consumables, timelines, and interactions with Phobos and Mars are discussed. The IPTV concept architecture may be realized much quicker than current NASA plans that include Phobos in the critical path, aided by a rapidly evolving private space sector.
... Regarding cost reductions for Mars, NASA's Design Reference Architecture 5.0 [9] was used as a reference of the capabilities needed. As for the Moon, the reference was the recent Evolvable Lunar Architecture study [10]. As for the market sizes, the following considerations were done: ...
Article
NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program showed the potential of private-public partnerships (PPPs) to reduce cost of access to space, producing two launch vehicles and cargo capsules in record time and with a factor 20 cost reduction. This program was followed by the Commercial Crew Program (CCP), aiming to provide affordable human access to space, which should end in 2017 with the first flight of a commercial crew capsule. The same team that created COTS is now proposing the Lunar Commercial Orbital Transfer Services (LCOTS) program, with the goal of developing cislunar capabilities, establish a human outpost on the Moon, and reduce cost and risk for future Mars missions. Private-public partnerships seem to be becoming NASA's tool of choice to develop affordable human access to space, increase capabilities, and incentivize the private space sector for a much lower cost than previous approaches. This paper wants to expand the use of the COTS-like programs by developing a concept of a COTS program for asteroid mining, simply referred to as Asteroid-COTS, or ACOTS for short. The paper uses the same methodology of the proposed LCOTS program, proposing a phased-development approach and evaluating which capabilities should be included in the program with a similar scheme. The result is a high-level ACOTS proposal with several synergies with the LCOTS program, and which could lead to the creation of a cislunar infrastructure to support permanent human presence in space.
... Many space settlement advocates believe that mining water for propellant is the crucial element in a strategy to start space industry [147,[173][174][175][176]. Therefore, it is of paramount importance in Stage 1 to ensure water mining becomes profitable. ...
Article
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The national space programs have an historic opportunity to help solve the global-scale economic and environmental problems of Earth while becoming more effective at science through the use of space resources. Space programs will be more cost-effective when they work to establish a supply chain in space, mining and manufacturing then replicating the assets of the supply chain itself so it grows to larger capacity. This has become achievable because of advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. It is roughly estimated that developing a lunar outpost that relies upon and also develops the supply chain will cost about 1/3 or less of the existing annual budgets of the national space programs. It will require a sustained commitment of several decades to complete, during which time science and exploration become increasingly effective. At the end, this space industry will capable of addressing global-scale challenges including limited resources, clean energy, economic development, and preservation of the environment. Other potential solutions, including nuclear fusion and terrestrial renewable energy sources, do not address the root problem of our limited globe and there are real questions that they may be inadequate or too late. While industry in space likewise cannot provide perfect assurance, it is uniquely able to solve the root problem, and it gives us an important chance that we should grasp. What makes this such an historic opportunity is that the space-based solution is obtainable for free, because it comes as a side-benefit of doing space science and exploration within their existing budgets. Thinking pragmatically, it may take some time for policymakers to agree that setting up a complete supply chain is an achievable goal, so this paper describes a strategy of incremental progress.
... NASA has no concrete plans to return to the Moon or develop a Moon base, although studies have been done that suggest a commercial/NASA mix of funds could develop one for creating propellant stocks in about 10-12 years after first landing on the Moon again (Miller et al. 2015). Since their heavy lifting rocket version required for a Lunar Mission is unlikely to be ready before 2023 (first flight of the Orion/SLS combination has been put back 2 years from 2021 to 2023), any date before 2035 for a US Moon base is extremely optimistic. ...
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The purpose of this paper is to examine what economic, social and biological seeds we need to sow to create successful space colonies better protected from dissent and revolution. It considers that while the space development timetable is continuing, the Earth economy in its current form will damage the biosphere before space industrialisation can be established, and without a healthy consumer economy on Earth, space colonisation is unlikely to occur. Using themes drawn from earlier feudal structures and considering the birth of capitalism and the nature of growth, this paper examines three long-standing assumptions about the drivers of the space economy. The first driver is that the space industrialisation is a necessary stimulus to the Earth economy. The second is the obligation of humanity to physically diversify to save itself from extinction, and the third is humans’ innate exploratory nature, which must be given full expression. This paper will show that none of these drivers will be successful in altering the current economic realities of the space economy and that in particular, the third driver also misrepresents how humans explore. It will show that the Earth degradation timetable and the space economy development timetable do not match, and that the Earth’s biosphere is likely to become irreparably damaged long before the space economy can support it or become self sustaining. This paper considers that solutions to the problems of biosphere degradation and sustainable development on Earth will be the same solutions to those of colonising space, and will describe a two-part implementation of a scheme to provide a secure foundation for successful space colonies. Firstly, by implementing historical features of human societies to enable natural decision-making procedures to develop among diverse groups dedicated to space development and secondly to slowly separate the space economy from the world economy of fiat currency and standard capitalist investments vehicles, which will direct the evolution of space colonies along a path compatible with both a protected biosphere on Earth and long lasting settlements away from it.
... Recent studies suggest that water, oxygen, and metal resources on the Moon, NEA's, and Mars are critical for achieving NASA's long-term goal of "Earth Independence" for human deep space missions to continue the exploration and pioneering of our solar system as well as to begin the establishment of a space economy which includes commercial transportation and construction in space 15 , 16 . The planned NASA Resource Prospector (RP) mission is likely to find water ice and other volatiles at the Moon's poles. ...
Conference Paper
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HE Evolvable Mars Campaign (EMC) is developing the plans and systems needed for a robust, evolutionary strategy to explore cis-lunar space, the Mars sphere of influence (including the moons of Mars), and the surface of Mars. Recently, the emphasis of NASA's plans has changed to focus on the prolonged pioneering of space, rather than focusing on a single crewed mission as the ultimate goal. A sustainable, pioneering vision of space would include in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) in multiple forms and at multiple destinations: atmospheric capture of Mars CO2 and/or volatiles for consumables and propellants, regolith for bulk and refined materials, and in-situ manufacturing at the Moon, Mars, and other bodies. These resources would enable a reduction in the logistical needs from Earth for future missions, thus preparing the way for a sustained presence on Mars. Although the EMC initially relies only on propellant production for the Mars ascent vehicle via ISRU, one of its primary objectives is to prospect at every EMC destination to understand the potential for ISRU; this will permit true pioneering to be enabled after the first crew arrives at Mars. Recent and ongoing analysis has considered the possible prospecting measurements that can be performed at the asteroid returned to cis-lunar space by the Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission (ARRM), at the lunar surface, at Phobos and Deimos, and on the surface of Mars to identify available resources for future use. These opportunities will be available on missions currently in the Evolvable Mars Campaign construct, and will also facilitate the testing and demonstration of resource acquisition, processing, storage, and useage technologies that can play a role in later missions. This analysis has also led to the identification of several objectives that should be targeted during the missions building up to and including the initial crewed missions. These objectives are mapped to strategies for incorporating ISRU to support resource cycle closure and reduce mass requirements from Earth. This analysis has yielded engineering constraints, based on ISRU, that impact the evaluation of landing sites for missions to the surface of Mars. The terrain of a particular site must be sufficiently flat to permit ISRU systems, as well as ancillary systems such as power and propellant storage tanks, to be landed, moved into position, set up, and operated. Water must be accessible in a form that can be acquired via ISRU, in quantities that align with demands. The chosen method of acquiring and processing water should align with the available resources at a particular site, and that site must have sufficient quantities to meet the requirements (based on crew consumables and propellant demands). Lower altitude landing sites are preferred, as the increase in density can facilitate carbon dioxide acquisition from the atmosphere. Another preference is for sites with a greater ability to move regolith for civil engineering purposes; for example, this would be conducive to both bulk regolith uses (such as the manufacture of berms), and processed regolith uses (such as microwave sintering).