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Initial Habitat Orientation

The Reference Mission calls for a vertical landing of the stack, consisting of the integrated ascent/descent stage and the habitation module, with the two lined up vertically. The habitation module is then lowered, as can be seen in the agenda for Day 1.

The obvious thought when trying to trim unnecessary structural mass from the stack is to forego the added strcture and lowering mechanisms and land the habitation module in a horizontal fashion, eliminating the need to move it from an original vertical state.

There are numerous avantages to this arrangement:

However, on close inspection one realizes that the advantages are more then countered by additional mass required in structure and other complications.

The vertical alternative obviously wins. A useful alternative might be to build lowering gear that can be salvaged from the first module and used for subsequent modules, and/or put to other uses.

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