Military Embedded Systems

Lockheed Martin to build full-scale prototype of cislunar habitat


July 21, 2017

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Lockheed Martin to build full-scale prototype of cislunar habitat
Artist rendering of NextSTEP habitat. Courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA recently awarded Lockheed Martin a Phase II contract to build a prototype of a cislunar --commonly regarded as the deep space between the earth and the moon -- habitat at Kennedy Space Center. Under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) habitat study contract, the prototype will integrate evolving technologies that will eventually be used in cislunar orbit to keep astronauts safe while onboard and operate the spacecraft autonomously when unoccupied.

As part of Phase II, the team will continue to refine the design concept developed in Phase I and work with NASA to identify key system requirements for the Deep Space Gateway, which will be a crew-tended spaceport in orbit near the moon. The team will build 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.

The Lockheed Martin/NASA team will build a full-scale prototype of the deep space habitat by refurbishing the Donatello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), which was one of three large modules -- flown in the space shuttle payload bay -- that were used to transfer cargo to the International Space Station. The build team will also rely heavily on mixed-reality prototyping using virtual and augmented reality. Through this approach, says Lockheed Martin, the team can reduce cost, shorten the schedule, and identify and solve issues early in the design phase. The work is set to occur over 18 months.

Additional coverage on the NextSTEP project can be found here.




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