Survey of past, present and planned human space mission simulators
Paper i proceeding, 2008
In light of the renewed international interest in lunar exploration, including plans for setting up a permanent human outpost on the Moon, the need for next generation earth-based human space mission simulators has become inevitable and urgent. These simulators have been shown to be of great value for medical, physiological, psychological, biological and exobiological research, and for subsystem test and development, particularly closed-loop life support systems. The paper presents a summary of a survey of past, present and future human space mission simulators. In 2006, the Vienna based company Liquifer Systems Group (LSG) conducted an in-depth survey, for a European Space Agency (ESA) commissioned Phase-A contract involving a Design Study for a Facility for Integrated Planetary Exploration Simulation (FIPES). The survey data served as reference material for development of the FIPES architecture and, more importantly the application of the data ensured that the Systems Requirements reviewed and amended as part of the FIPES Study fully reflected the design, experience, and lessons learned from the use of such facilities. The paper addresses a hitherto unfulfilled need: a comprehensive, comparative survey of most, if not all, simulators to date. It is a condensed and updated version of the detailed ESA Technical Report produced for the FIPES Study. It presents a comparative analysis of simulator characteristics and consolidated summaries for each simulator classified into (1) site and purpose, (2) key technical data, (3) scientific and medical research functions, and (4) technology test and development functions. It is beyond the scope of this paper to provide details for all twenty-seven simulators surveyed. Therefore, the paper presents selected summaries of three sets of relatively recent simulation campaigns, one European, one American and the other Russian-International. The paper concludes with excerpts of lessons learned from these campaigns.