LEO Staging Base
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Space Station Airlock Requirement and Placement

For the LEO Assembly Facility, an airlock will be required for EVA during the assembly of the moonship.

As the moonship will require the design of a three-port airlock which connects the LTV and Lunar Habitat, another copy can be made without further design work, tooling development, qualification, or testing. As the lunar base airlock only weighs 600 lbs, the costs involved in this approach would be minimal.

The functionality we get for that extra 600 lbs is pretty impressive. And if something goes wrong with the airlock we're planning to send to the moon, we could use the airlock from the LEO facility.


We could stack up an airlock on the LEO facility, then a short adaptor tunnel, then the moonship airlock. The top hatches (base of the T) are the ones the crew will use to go EVA. However, this has the drawback of isolating the crew when someone is using the airlock. (For safety reasons, the airlock remains unpressurized while someone is EVA, so that could isolate the crew for several hours every day.) So it would be better to put the LEO facility's airlock outside the path between the LEO facility and the moonship.

This leads to another reason to have a LEO airlock. If we have one, the crew is provided an alternate route for EVA which does not isolate the moonship from the LEO facility. If we don't, we'll have to very carefully plan where we want the people before depressurizing the airlock.

Using the scenario where two Soyuz spacecraft launch three people each, we could have six people getting the moonship ready for its big trip. With the number of manual mechanisms we're talking about, we'll be doing a lot of EVA, and the issue of isolating the crew is thus very serious.

A more attractive option would be to simply use one of the remaining expansion ports on the 6-way adaptor. This would eliminate the problems concerning the moonship and space station being isolated when the airlock is depressurized.

In future expansion, other space station elements could be attached to the two remaining hatches on the T-shaped airlock, or the airlock could be moved. Leaving the airlock in place during future expansion would be a not unattractive option, as it would make the elements less crowded while making another expansion port available, for the minimal cost and mass penalty of a new airlock.

LEO Staging Base

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