Sleeping on The Moon

One of the comments we received on the Altair video asked about possible sleeping arrangements for the astronauts. Well, we are exploring various configurations for crew sleeping accommodations. One option is certainly fold-down beds. Currently, we are experimenting with a hammock concept for Altair, in which a fabric hammock is supported by two poles, which attach to the forward walls of the cabin.  In this scenario, we would deploy four such hammocks vertically, similar to how crew sleep stations are arranged on many naval vessels.  When not in use, the poles would be stowed flush with the cabin walls and the hammocks would be folded up and stowed in lockers.  This arrangement worked well in recent evaluations and allowed our test subjects to “sleep” without disturbing each other, and it allowed any crew member to get up in the middle of the night (e.g., to get a snack, complete a task) without causing the others to have to move their sleep stations out of the way.  We will continue to explore additional concepts in the future as we search for the ideal solution to incorporate into the Altair.  It will be interesting to see what kind of sleeping accommodations eventually fly.

Here’s a look at some of the testing being done on the sleep stations inside one of the Altair mock-ups.

The Towers Rise


This is a shot of Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, which is being prepared for the Ares I-X test flight later this year. That particular pad — as well as its twin, pad 39A — was the site of space shuttle launches since the 1980s until 39B was retired in 2006 (pad 39A is now the primary site). In this picture, which was taken at dawn, you can see the towers of the new lightning protection system for the pad. Each of the three new lightning towers will be 500feet tall with an additional 100-foot fiberglass mast on top of them. This work is being done because the Ares and Orion stack will be much taller than the shuttle is, coming in at more than 300-feet tall.