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Orbiting lunar 'spaceport' planned for 2020s


Posted on Saturday, 11 March, 2017 | Comment icon 6 comments

Could we soon see a space station being built around the Moon ? Image Credit: NASA
A space station could be placed in cis-lunar orbit to act as a stepping-stone towards a trip to Mars.
According to reports, NASA is currently working together with other International Space Station (ISS) partners to plan the construction of a manned lunar space station.

This futuristic 'spaceport' would be designed to help mankind develop and test out the type of technologies that will be needed to reach Mars in the 2030s.

Back in February, representatives of the five space agencies met in Tsukuba, Japan to discuss the project and there are now indications that their plans could be finalized by as early as next year.

There are also strong indications that the station will be placed in a cis-lunar orbit which will take it as close as 900 miles and as far as 43,000 miles from the Moon during a single orbit.

The actual design of the outpost however has yet to be determined.

Source: Astronomy Magazine | Comments (6)

Tags: Moon, Space Station

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Merc14 on 11 March, 2017, 16:02
I hadn't heard that this had even reached the discussion phase.  Is an NRHO an oval orbit about a Lagrange point?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Tatetopa on 11 March, 2017, 19:40
From the Astronomy article, it sounds like the plan is still "speculative".  Engineering standards for the modules have not been reached. There is still one group that wants a near  lunar orbit more fit to study the moon, so NRHO is not the unanimous choice, it does seem to be best for cost and safety. Thanks for the tip.  I googled some of the papers associated with this.  There is quite a bit of analysis.  Halo orbits seem to be very stable over time; the NRO's near the liberation points also very stable but offer some advantages for rendezvous trajectories for personnel and equipment.  If y... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Parsec on 11 March, 2017, 20:24
That would be flabbergasting! 
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer on 24 March, 2017, 16:59
As great as that would be, funding may be a hug issue.  If one country funds the station, isn't it a violation of the agreement non-military use of the Moon?  I know NASA isn't the military, but the two seem to work closely together at times.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Merc14 on 24 March, 2017, 17:21
From the article there are at least five space agencies involved so this would be no more military related than ISS.  Funding will definitely be an issue but the new administration has put manned flight back as a top mission, specifically getting to Mars and back, so should be interesting to see where this all ends up.  I think that with all the commercial interest in landing on the Moon and setting up permanent bases that there should be commercial participation in paying for this station as it would provide a safe haven for those missions.  .
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 March, 2017, 19:13
No for several reasons. Firstly, the UN Moon Treaty bans the use of celestial bodies for military purposes has only been ratified by a hand-full of nations.. none of which are currently capable of launching satellites. Since the USA, Russia, China, Japan, India and the nations of the European Space Agency have not signed, never mind ratified, this treaty they would not be in breach of this piece of international law by using the Moon for military purposes. The UN Outer Space Treaty, which the space-faring nations have  signed and ratified, forbids any nation from laying claim to any celestial ... [More]


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