Payload Fairing Geometries as Space Stations with Flexible “Plug and Play” Rack System

Date

2019-07-07

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

49th International Conference on Environmental Systems

Abstract

This paper outlines a design methodology of adapting launch vehicle payload fairing geometries into pressurized single or multi-element space stations. Large volume, low budget space stations can be achieved through utilization of flexible rack “Plug and Play” pre-integrated systems prior to launch on the ground.

Diverse launch systems are used to deploy satellites in geostationary orbit (GTO) and for ISS resupply and crew delivery missions. The discussed in this paper project investigates how payload fairings used for deploying satellites can be applied to accommodate space habitats. Moreover, this research aims to propose a design strategy for integration of interior architectures and habitation systems into large volumes, stimulating low-cost development of space habitats.

CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer) is the main structural material used for launch vehicle payload fairings manufacturing. These structures have an impressive strength-to-weight ratio and excellent thermal insulation properties (they maintain stable internal temperatures around 60° - 120° F). Nevertheless, those fairings are jettisoned after the vehicle reaches its orbit. Using such structures as a habitat primary structure offers a larger habitat interior volume, while reducing overall mass and cost variables.

The paper discusses utilization of a “Plug and Play” system in fairing habitats that can be adapted on orbit for different missions and applications. The system allows flexible architecture that accommodates diverse types of functions including R&D laboratories, manufacturing facilities, and crew quarters. The paper concludes with benefits of the minimalist space station design approach that include simple structures, optimized interior volume, reduction of launches, and utilization of proven technologies. The discussed in this paper design is a key for the global effort to advance space exploration while attaining its affordability.

Description

Leonardo Guzman, University of Houston, USA
ICES502: Space Architecture
The 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 07 July 2019 through 11 July 2019.

Keywords

Payload Fairings Habitats., Plug and Play., Adaptability.

Citation