Optimization of a Lunar Airlock

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50th International Conference on Environmental Systems

Unlike the Apollo-era sorties, proposed crewed lunar exploration in the coming years�notably, but not limited to, NASA�s Artemis program and ESA�s Moon Village�are likely to take the form of long-duration missions at permanently or semi-permanently inhabited lunar installations. Given the well documented challenge of regolith contamination of any lunar habitats, and the imperative to conserve consumable resources, Apollo-style surface EVAs that contaminate the habitat and fully vent the habitable volume are not sustainable. Consideration must therefore be given to the inclusion of airlocks for surface excursions.

With the considerable mass penalties associated with the addition of an airlock to surface architectures, means of reducing mass and optimizing airlock volumes are required. Information-bearing digital modeling techniques enable the design and fabrication of increasingly complex structures with optimized non-orthogonal geometries. Such techniques potentially reduce structure mass while optimizing volumetric displacement and structural efficiency, with concomitant greater efficiency of ECLSS and power sizing and performance.

Building on previous work such as the Surface Endoskeletal Inflatable Module (SEIM), a methodology is employed for lunar surface airlock design using 3D modeling techniques for geometry definition, coupled with bidirectional data between geometric design and analysis criteria. Such intelligent modeling allows for the rapid evaluation of the quality and efficacy of the stipulated airlock designs, in order to efficiently select�candidates out of a number of preliminary airlock shell geometries. A bicameral airlock design tailored to the lunar environment is proposed.

Fran�ois L�vy, Synthesis Int'l
Georgi Petrov, Synthesis-International
ICES502: Space Architecture
The 50th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held virtually on 12 July 2021 through 14 July 2021.
airlock, constraint driven design, inflatable structure, lunar exploration, lunar regolith, parametric design, space architecture, surface EVA