Gateway Gravity Testbed (GGT)
Howe, A Scott
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We propose that the Gateway elements be ‘scarred’ to accommodate future demonstration and investigation of artificial gravity (AG) at human scale. We show how this could be done using the Gateway elements already envisioned, with minimal additional developments and minimal interference with other Gateway functions. The resulting flight data would be invaluable for understanding both human physiological and system responses to AG, which could be essential information to enable Mars-class missions. AG has never been baselined for exploration mission concepts, mainly due to presumed technical complications, even though Mars-class missions are 2-3x longer than the maximum microgravity duration demonstrated to date. Planning remains at risk until data are in hand. NASA’s commitment to build and operate a cis-lunar Gateway provides a timely, and perhaps singular, opportunity to test how humans and vehicle systems respond to variable-g regimes relevant to Mars planning. We show how electric spin-up / spin-down, or alternatively Electric Propulsion (EP) thrusting can be compatible with design and operation of a Gateway configuration that enables AG technology demonstration.