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Options for Staging Orbits in Cis-Lunar SpaceNASA has been studying options to conduct missions beyond Low Earth Orbit, but within the Earth-Moon system, in preparation for deep space exploration including human missions to Mars. Referred to as the Proving Ground, this arena of exploration activities will enable the development of human spaceflight systems and operations to satisfy future exploration objectives beyond the cis-lunar environment. One option being considered includes the deployment of a habitable element or elements, which could be used as a central location for aggregation of supplies and resources for human missions in cis-lunar space and beyond. Characterizing candidate orbit locations for this asset and the impacts on system design and mission operations is important in the overall assessment of the options being considered. The orbits described in this paper were initially selected by taking advantage of previous studies conducted by NASA and the work of other authors. In this paper orbits are assessed for their relative attractiveness based on various factors. First, a set of constraints related to the capability of the combined Orion and SLS system to deliver humans and cargo to and from the orbit are evaluated. Second, the ability to support potential lunar surface activities is considered. Finally, deployed assets intended to spend multiple years in the Proving Ground would ideally require minimal station keeping costs to reduce the mass budget allocated to this function. Additional mission design drivers include potential for uninterrupted communication with deployed assets, thermal, communications, and other operational implications. The results of the characterization and evaluation of the selected orbits indicate a Near Rectilinear Orbit (NRO) is an attractive candidate as an aggregation point or staging location for operations. In this paper, the NRO is further described in terms which balance a number of key attributes that favor a variety of mission classes to meet multiple, sometimes competing, constraints.
Document ID
20150019648
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Whitley, Ryan (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Martinez, Roland (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
October 23, 2015
Publication Date
October 21, 2015
Subject Category
Astrodynamics
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Astronautics (General)
Report/Patent Number
JSC-CN-34623
Meeting Information
IEEE Annual Aerospace Conference(Big Sky, MT)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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