Chosen by Italian Space Agency to take a close look at 16 design concepts to house astronauts
Thales Alenia Space (TAS), the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has won a contract from the Italian Space Agency (ASI). It is to conduct a feasibility study of 16 design concepts to support a human presence on the Moon. ASI’s initiative is part of a strategic partnership with NASA within the scope of the ARTEMIS program for the human exploration of the Moon, including both its orbit and surface. These studies could well underpin a roadmap for Italian participation in the lunar program.
In particular, the studies will be focusing on the Shelter, a pressurized lunar surface module to be used by astronauts in an emergency, and also as a starting point for surface exploration. They will also concern a lunar telecommunications system to facilitate communications between the lunar base, the Lunar Gateway space station, and Earth. Other aspects to be studied include pressurized surface modules such as a lunar laboratory, a new-generation pressurized observation dome on Gateway, and a habitation module for astronauts. Transport systems will be considered as well, to help astronauts explore the lunar surface or transport equipment, and even an automated rover to transport raw materials.
In particular, the studies will be focusing on the Shelter, a pressurized lunar surface module to be used by astronauts in an emergency, and also as a starting point for surface exploration
As prime contractor, TAS will lead an industrial team of Italian excellences, including those from sectors not traditionally associated with Space. “Implementing a cross-fertilization approach, TAS will coordinate all the partners of the supply chain to conduct a 360° analysis of the fundamental requirements for lunar habitation and exploration, in line with the strategic vision of the Italian space agency.” According to Massimo Comparini, CEO of TAS Italy, “Innovation is the key at Thales Alenia Space to boost our competitiveness as we tackle new challenges. This contract is an excellent example of how the development of enabling technologies can enhance synergies and encourage contributions from other sectors.”
Photo Credits: NASA