Lena Kahle

Lena Kahle

Otto-von-Taube-Gymnasium

 

Titel der Forschungsarbeit: Analysis of a Life Support System for a Lunar South Pole Base

Fakultät: Fakultät für Maschinenwesen

Lehrstuhl: Lehrstuhl für Raumfahrttechnik

Betreuung: Daniel Kaschubek

Abstract der Forschungsarbeit

With NASA planning a sustained human presence on the Moon by 2028, previously not deployed methods are facilitated whilst new challenges are lying ahead. For guaranteeing the sustainment of life during long-term missions farther from Earth while being limited in the frequency of resupply, bio-regenerative alternatives need to be researched. Having a stationary base on an extraterrestrial surface offers unprecedented possibilities for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). Therefore, researching these new options as extensions to previous state-of-the-art environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) is of paramount importance for enabling future long-term manned spaceflight missions.
In this thesis, the required dimensions of the storage tanks and power supply systems during phases with and without available solar energy are determined for a lunar mission. A model is created and simulated for 32 days of the mission to validate the calculations and to research the impact from implementing an algae photobioreactor and a plant cultivation in the life support system. Furthermore, the profitability of building in a Sabatier and an ISRU reactor is validated with this model. For that, the dynamic simulation tool Virtual Habitat (V-HAB) is utilized which has been under development at the Technical University of Munich since 2006 and is designed to simulate life support systems. For running the simulation, control logics for the power supply of the subsystems as well as for regulating the oxygen supply to the cabin are implemented.
Based on the results from the simulation runs, the break-even points for implementing the Sabatier and ISRU reactor are determined to be at at least 102 and 159 days, respectively. By comparing the simulation runs, the impact of the optionally implemented photobioreactor and plant cultivation is researched. While both subsystems only have marginal impact on the air humidity, they greatly differ in terms of food production capabilities. While on average, the photobioreactor produces 0.113 kg of edible algae per crew member per day whereas the plants only provide 2.05 kg of food in total. For ultimately striving towards achieving a functional real-world lunar base, future work for further validating and improving the simulation model is outlined. The main aspect concerning that is the simulation of langer mission durations.