Now all space projects come down to the main topic - colonization. The most active participants are Russia, the USA and China, which jointly or separately develop various programs. The main goals are the Moon and Mars. Recently, Lockheed Martin introduced a functional prototype that will be tested in the near future.
The Earth satellite is closest to us, so the process of colonization will begin from the Moon. Moreover, the astronauts have been there already in the 1970s. (let's just without conspiracy theories). There are already projects that consider different models of lunar modules installed on the surface or even in the lunar tubes (under the surface layer). But experts believe, first of all, it is necessary to establish a base in the lunar orbit.
Why? Many believe that it is better to immediately settle on the surface of the satellite. Why waste time on getting stuck in orbit for a few more years? But this makes sense, affecting the economic, technological and even psychological moments. The return to the moon will not be a short-lived event, because mankind plans to settle there firmly. The near-moon base will be a wonderful smooth transitional stage in this process. First of all, it will be much easier to descend from the surface and maintain communication with the Earth. In addition, in the lunar orbit it will be possible to collect spacecraft to fly to Mars. Delivery of assembly elements and fuel will greatly save on the cost of the flight. In addition, the astronauts will get a small amount of time for adaptation.
Lockheed Martin New Project
Habitat Ground Test Article prototype
Lockheed Martin has been working with NASA for a long time and recently presented a prototype (all scales are met) of a circumlunar base in which astronauts can comfortably live. The design is initially compatible with the architecture of the NASA gateway, especially since the project itself is part of the NextSTEP program.
With the help of a new design, researchers will be able to assess the possibility of a stable stay in a module in orbit around the moon and moving into deep space. The full-scale prototype of the Habitat Ground Test Article (HGTA) is located at the Kennedy Space Center.
In its development used modern technology and the latest design. The main principle is that every centimeter of space must be functional. That is, the interior makes the most of the module space, allowing crew members to perform tasks more efficiently and more quickly. The design satisfies both the scientific goals and the personal needs of the astronauts. The last 5 months were devoted to the improvement of the prototype and various innovations. Now the design is considered to be multifunctional, it allows you to create a stable station in a circumlunar orbit, opens up access to scientific research and becomes a passage point for landing on the surface.
At the end of March, Lockheed Martin will hand over the prototype to the NASA team for full testing. A group of researchers will spend a week inside the module to evaluate both the design and the functionality. They will check the quality of communication, interface, standards compliance, level of comfort.
Experts say that the module will be able to communicate with three objects: the Moon, Earth and the ISS. This means that the system will operate the delivery of goods between the orbital and the new near-moon stations. Upon completion of the test period, Lockheed Martin will again receive a prototype to make improvements and correct possible errors.