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SPACEHAB Module Overview

Originally I based the Artemis Project Reference mission on using pressurized modules from the International Space Station program for both the Lunar Transfer Vehicle and the habitat on the moon's surface. However, currently the prime candidate for fulfilling this role is the commercially developed manned laboratory, SPACEHAB.

Don't confuse SPACEHAB with SpaceLab. SpaceLab is the European Space Agency's contriubtion to the Space Shuttle program, a manned laboratory which flies in the Space Shuttle payload bay. The smaller SPACEHAB performs the same function, but instead of being a government-sponsored program, it was privately financed by SPACEHAB, Inc.

To add to your confusion: McDonnell Douglas in Huntsville, Alabama played a major role in both these laboratories. MDC prepared the European Space Agency's SpaceLab for flight and the Space Shuttle and handle payload integration for it. The same company designed and developed SPACEHAB under contract from SPACEHAB, Inc.

SPACEHAB will make its fourth flight aboard the Space Shuttle on STS-74. It is the world's first (and currently only) commercial manned spacecraft.

SPACEHAB Illustration

Figure SPACEHAB Module

You may also download this image in CGM vector graphics format.

The SPACHAB module measures about 9 feet long between the bulkheads, and about 13.5 feet in diameter. It has two viewing windows on its top side and a hatch for attaching it to the Space Shuttle airlock on the front end.

In the conceptual desing for the Artemis Project spacecraft, we'd use the SPACEHAB laboratory module for both the Lunar Transfer Vehicle and the lunar base habitat. SPACEHAB is designed so that the bulkheads on each can be removed. Besides making it much easier to put in experiments on the ground, the removable bulkheads allow two or even three of the SPACEHAB modules to be configured into a larger laboratory.

The reference mission uses a single SPACEHAB module for the Lunar Transfer Vehicle, and, if we can afford the weight, a triple module for the lunar habitat.

Triple SPACEHAB Module

Figure Triple SPACHEHAB Module as Lunar Habitat

You may also download this image is also available in CGM vector graphics format.

In the triple-module configuration, the interior of the lunar habitat would be about 336 inches long.

For the lunar habitat, I've changed the orientation of the SPACEHAB module so that the windows are on the side instead of on the top. We hope that upon landing the pilot would have enough fuel left to rotate the lunar base so that the windows overlook the most interesting view. Whatever orientation the habitat has when it lands will be the one we live with for a long time. Probably the most interesting view from Angus Bay will be toward the southwest, where Earth will be in the sky just above the mountains which form the northeastern shore of Mare Crisium.

A single SPACEHAB module weighs about 2500 pounds in its operational configuration, without any payloads. Adding all the equipment needed to convert it from a Shuttle-borne laboratory to a lunar transfer vehicle will bring the LTV's weight up to about 5000 pounds dry weight. The lunar habitat will weigh about 7500 pounds for the pressure vessel, plus every additional ounce we can carrry for outfitting equipment. Additional information regarding equipment weight will be added to the Artemis Data Book in section 4.1, "Mission Design - First Flight."


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