Building a Lunar Colony One Step at a Time
In the following, we establish requirements to enable suppliers to prepare an appropriate proposal for us. The requirements for the first building block, herein referred to as 'Relay Station - Backup'. The Relay Station will be the backup for enabling the ready, continuous transfer of energy and information between the Earth and the colony on the Moon's surface. To ensure continuity, it will be situated at a location on the Moon with a continual view of the Earth. Malapert Mountain is presently the preferred location. The following attached PDF file provides the concept of operations for Relay Station - Backup.
Concept of Operations
Concept of Operations for the Relay Station - Backup
This Relay Station is for the colonists. It is to virtually connect the colony on the Moon to the people on Earth. The connection is via two paths; information and energy. We describe the requirements for each of these next.
Colonists require the capability to transfer information with people on Earth for audio/video and data communications. This information can be separated into two types. One type is the occasional person to person transfer (e.g. data files, email, audio&video). The other type is the near continuous flow of equipment status between the colony's infrastructure and auditing facilities on Earth.
Expanding upon the information transfer requirements for the colonists, we enable their revenue generation by;
- relaying information between other non-Earth locations and Earth,
- storing data (e.g. financial records),
- pursuing personal agendas on Earth, and
- selling viewing time with the imager.
The colonists will rely upon machines that themselves rely upon energy. As a singular example, this Relay Station - Backup needs energy to power its computer(s), antennas and signal generators. Therefore, the Relay Station must be able to receive energy, store energy and supply / transmit energy. While the energy connections enable the direct survival of the colonists, they have other benefits. The transfer of energy from the Moon to the Earth demonstrates a future revenue generation path. Also, the transfer of energy from the Earth to the Moon allows for a redundant source of power for the colony.
As energy is critical, the Relay Station should never be in an under-energized state. That is, it should always have more than enough energy and conduits to maintain nominal operations.
The station's main function is to relay energy and communications between our colony and the Earth. It will also enable energy and communications transfer between our colony and other line-of-sight locations. The locations include; on the lunar surface, satellites orbiting the Moon, and space-based platforms.
The Relay Station's key requirements include;
- two-way transfer of energy along the pre-mentioned sight-lines,
- energy storage,
- two-way transfer of information along the pre-mentioned sight-lines,
- information storage,
- maintenance by both humans and robots,
- reliable, and
- an imager that interfaces with the information sub-system and provides visual perspicuity.
The above requirements are not new for robotic landers. However, previous and current landers extol scientific exploration and thus neither their requirements nor the landers may be the most practical for the colony. In an effort to minimize cost, we keep our requirements succinct and immediately achievable given current technology. While we expect this Relay Station to be a singular item, we can break it down into functional elements. The elements include; the information storage system and its transfer system, the energy storage system and its transfer system, the imager and the bus / framework as shown below. We provide the requirements for each of these functional elements next.
Information Storage and Transfer
The information storage system and its transfer system connects the colonists to other endeavours of people. The information storage system is seen as a typical computer that's been conditioned to function in space. Its transfer system will be much like existing satellite phones. Our requirements for the information storage and transfer system are next.
As well, we require primary and redundant information storage and delivery systems.
Central Processing Sub-system
- We require this Relay Station to have a central processing sub-system. The sub-system will control all the station's systems.
- We require the central processor to be capable of being a Root Name Server.
- We require the central processor to be capable of being an authoritative name server.
- We require the central processor to have available storage of at least 1 TB RAM.
- We require the central processor to transfer data from Relay Station to the Earth based Internet in less than 4 minutes under nominal conditions.
- We require the central processor to be immune from failure due to space radiation.
- We require the central processor to be immune to malware.
- We require the central processor to accommodate multilingual datasets.
- Require +1TB includes both free storage, and storage for operating system, subroutines and their data needs
- Require appropriate access rate
- Require amenability to multiple OSs
- Require inherent error checking and correcting
- Require space rated, error checking, automatic repair from failure
- Require built-in security
- Require primary and redundant, digital, min rate, min power level
- Require common format
- Require common frequency, be a node in the existing space communications network
- Require directional, equivalent rates
- Require meeting minimum reception power level on Earth in all weather conditions
- Require acceptable BER
- SpaceDataHighway up to 1.8 Gbps
Energy Storage and Delivery System
This Relay Station will require energy so it can undertake any action. We know of no existing stores of energy on the Moon so the station should have an energy store when it leaves Earth and it should be able to increase its energy store while on the Moon.
As well, given the critical nature of energy, we require primary and redundant storage and delivery systems.
The energy storage will maintain all systems at nominal functioning level for one complete lunar day (ie from Sun rise to following Sun rise, about 4 Earth weeks)
- We require a storage of at least x Joules. Where x is 30days*Relay Station's nominal power consumption
- We require the storage system to have an inherent dissipation rate of no more than *J/sec. We also require a controlled accumulation and dissipation rates of from [a , b] Watts
- We require the primary and redundant energy storage systems to provide nominal amounts of energy to Relay Station for at least one lunar day being defined here as 30 Earth days
- We require the Relay Station to be able to send and receive energy. For example laser energy delivery has been demonstrated. We require the receiver to be able to accommodate delivery of up to 20W. We require the transmitter to be able to deliver at least 20W
- We require the energy delivery to provide its received energy to the energy storage sub-system
- We require the energy delivery use the energy in its energy storage sub-system as its source for energy delivery
- We require Relay Station to capture energy from the Sun. We require the station to channel this energy into the energy storage system
We expect Relay Station to have a central body that supports the information sub-system and the energy sub-system. We refer to this central body as the Lander.
- We require the Lander to place itself within our predefined landing ellipse. Capability of placement close to an exact lunar latitude and longitude is desired. What is accuracy of current maps. What is capability of lunar-locating
- We require the Lander to physically support the sub-systems during pre-launch testing, launch, transport, landing and operations
- The Lander bus should be or arise directly from an existing, proven space system
- We require the Lander to have a very high (>99%) probability for a successful landing
- We require the imager to be able to discern a person wearing a spacesuit who is standing in clear view at the colony infrastructure likely to be on the rim of Shackleton Crater.
- We require the imager to be able to supply images to the information sub-system in a non-proprietary format.
- We require the imager to be able to remotely have its focal length and shutter speed changed. The options in focal length and shutter speed will factor into the final contract award.
- We require the imager to have the ability of take a video, i.e. of taking a still image at least of 30 fames per second. Higher frame rates will factor into the final contract award.
The following requirements are also incidental for contract award.
Size and Mass
The great limiters for payloads travelling on rockets are their size and mass. Both need to be as small as possible.
As well, to facilitate analysis, any payload should have simple moments of inertia.
- We require all equipment to be highly reliable with proven failure rates that give very small opportunity of failure in the first 100 years.
- We require the Relay Station to accommodate partial (i.e. sub-system) upgrades via either humans in spacesuits or robots with today's level of dexterity and capability.
- We require each sub-system to be easily transportable on Earth to facilitate movement from production to test to launch vehicle.
- We require the Relay Station to easily transit from Earth to Moon.
- We require the Relay Station to land on the Moon and, if necessary, relocate to our defined landing ellipse.
Protocol and Physical Interface
- We require inter-sub-system interfaces to be simple, non-proprietary interfaces; both physical and electrical.
- We require Relay Station interfaces to be simple, non-proprietary interfaces; both physical and electrical.
Standards, protocols, tbd
- TDRSS (or equivalent)
The calculated lifetime for this structure must be at least 50 years.