Deep space habitat for NASA is being developed by scientists. The habitat is being created so that it will keep astronauts safe during long duration missions by providing critical communications, life support and autonomous navigation.
US-based aerospace company Lockheed Martin is modelling a deep space habitat for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center and is revamping an old cargo container used to transfer essentials to the International Space Station. Evolving technologies will be integrated in the prototype in order to keep the astronauts safe while onboard and it will operate the spacecraft autonomously when unoccupied.
Lockheed Martin a Phase II contract for the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) habitat study were recently awarded by NASA. In the Phase II, the refining of the design conceptdeveloped in Phase I will be conducted by the team. The team will also work with NASA in order to identify key system requirements for the Deep Space Gateway.
A full-scale habitat prototype in the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and a next-generation deep space avionics integration lab near Johnson Space Center will be build-up by the team.
“It is easy to take things for granted when you are living at home, but the recently selected astronauts will face unique challenges,” said Bill Pratt, Lockheed Martin NextSTEP programme manager. “Something as simple as calling your family is completely different when you are outside of low Earth orbit. While building this habitat, we have to operate in a different mindset that’s more akin to long trips to Mars to ensure we keep them safe, healthy and productive,” said Pratt.
By refurbishing the Donatello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), a full-scale model of the deep space habitat will be built. Donatello was one of three large modules, flown in the space shuttle payload bay, that were used to transfer cargo to the ISS.