This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at www.astronautix.com

astronautix.com Space Base

Space Base
Space Base

Credit: NASA. 50,011 bytes. 475 x 442 pixels.


Class: Manned. Type: Space Station. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Manufacturer: North American, McDonnell.

Growth of Space Station into a 50 man Space Base was a required capability in the Phase B NASA Space Station studies of 1969-1970. The original core Station Module was to be used in the Base build-up several years later or was to be used as a prototype of one of the Space Base modules. Space Base would serve as a major international facility for research, applications and for the support of other space operations such as servicing unmanned satellites. The crew would be large enough to include specialists of many kinds and to minimise even more the need for astronaut-type training. The Space Base would provide nearly equal zero and artificial gravity volumes and would be configured with permanent dedicated laboratories and observatories in addition to general purpose facilities.


Space BaseSpace Base - Space Hotel for 400 inhabitants, 1970

Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos. 34,633 bytes. 432 x 474 pixels.


Both Phase B teams developed very similar concepts. Living and operation functions were centred in the rotating arms while research laboratories and observatories and applications facilities were found primarily in zero gravity hub modules or in hub sections rotating to local vertical. The most significant difference in the concepts was that one had counter-rotating artificial gravity arms while the other had a single rotating arm. The North American Rockwell single rotation arm concept had a relatively high angular momentum which provided a very stable platform. The McDonnell Douglas counter-rotating arm had zero gyroscopic stability and, therefore, would require little torque to change its attitude. No conclusive arguments favoured one approach over the other.


Station Quarters IntStation Quarters Int

Credit: NASA. 14,402 bytes. 464 x 360 pixels.


Both concepts employed dual 50 kW nuclear reactor Brayton power generating systems deployed in a "Y" arrangement on the end of the non-rotating hub. This configuration would minimise radiation effects and would simplify maintenance and replacement operations.

The 50-man space base would have used nine of the basic 12-man space station modules. A much larger 400-man 'space hotel' could eventually be assembled from 18 modules. The space base would have been launched around 1980 to support large scale manned space activities in low Earth orbit. Smaller space stations would have been launched into geostationary and lunar orbit during the mid-/late 1970s to support manned lunar exploration. The smaller 6-crew space station module would also have housed Mars-bound astronauts in 1982-86.


Space Base - McAirSpace Base - McAir - Space Base for 50 inhabitants, McDonnell Douglas, 1970

Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos. 45,398 bytes. 640 x 393 pixels.


An alternate space base design would have moved most of the equipment from the non-rotating weightless core segment to the rotating arms, where artificial gravity would be generated.
Specification

Craft.Crew Size: 50. Design Life: 10 years. Maximum Diameter: 150.0 m. Total Habitable Volume: 7,000.00 m3. Total Mass: 1,000,000 kg. Electric system: 50.00 total average kW. Electrical System: Nuclear.



Station CutawaysStation Cutaways

Credit: NASA. 15,575 bytes. 324 x 459 pixels.


Space Base Chronology


01 January 1970 NASA Space Station / Space Base Studies

Growth of the 12-man Saturn V-launched Space Station into a 50 man Space Base was a required capability in the Phase B NASA Space Station studies of 1969-1970. The original core Station Module was to be used in the Base build-up several years later or was to be used as a prototype of one of the Space Base modules. Space Base would serve as a major international facility for research, applications and for the support of other space operations such as servicing unmanned satellites.



Space Base -RockwellSpace Base -Rockwell - Space Base for 50 inhabitants, Rockwell International, 1970

Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos. 22,154 bytes. 628 x 363 pixels.



Bibliography:



Station Modules 1969Station Modules 1969

Credit: NASA. 14,310 bytes. 595 x 389 pixels.



Space Base - NARSpace Base - NAR - Space Base, North American Rockwell

Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos. 48,660 bytes. 640 x 388 pixels.



Back to Index
Last update 12 March 2001.
Contact Mark Wade with any corrections or comments.
Conditions for use of drawings, pictures, or other materials from this site..
© Mark Wade, 2001 .