Lunar Manned Maneuvering Unit Fuel Notes
For getting around the moonbase, the question of combustible
propellants vs. compressed gas depends on what we want to do.
On the first flight, a compressed gas rocket pack would be visually
interesting and a good technology demonstrator, saving us development
costs and weight while sacrificing range and duration.
Compressed gas would be safer, too; but we still must treat it with
extreme respect. A little sphere pressurized to 5000 psi like the Shuttle
EMU's secondary oxygen pack has the energy of a few sticks of dynamite if
it explodes; it's even more dangerous than a scuba tank.
We're really reluctant about hydrazine. It's very toxic, and even
though we'd keep the backpack outside the hydrazine plume and try to
minimize leakage from the tank, the hydrazine forms crystals which
adhere to the beta cloth on the outside of the space suit.
We'd have a problem with decontaminating the suit every
time the crew comes in.
The technique for decontamination is straightforward: use ultraviolet
light to see stuff (it flouresces in ultraviolet) and then brush it off.
But the time lost to decontamination could be significant, and the risk of
missing a spot that would be imported into the habitat is very high. It would
take days for the crystals to sublimate off the suit in a vacuum.
Copyright © 2007 Artemis Society International, for the
contributors. All rights reserved.
This web site contains many trade names and copyrighted articles and images.
ASI Web Team
Submit update to this page.
Maintained with WebSite Director.
Updated Sat, May 9, 1998.