Mars

Airbus LOOP and Super-heavies

LOOP is a new space station concept from Airbus. It is designed to be multi-purpose so could be used in orbit around the Earth or the Moon, or even on long-term journeys to Mars.

It has an eight meter diameter and three floors, meaning it will fit perfectly in one of the super-heavy launch vehicles such as SpaceX’s Super-Heavy (which just had its first successful test launch this week – congratulations!). It would launch in its complete form, so as soon as it is in space it is capable of supporting astronauts.

View of the Orbital Module’s Three Decks

The lowest deck is a centrifuge, which means it spins around to create a similar experience to the gravity we experience here on Earth. This could be essential on a mission to Mars as a long time without gravity can effect a person’s body, making them weaker when they land on the planet and less able to move around.

The other two floors consist of living quarters on the top floor, and a science lab on the middle floor. There is even a ‘greenhouse corridor’ which connects all the floors, where fresh food can be grown and enjoyed. There’s a few windows too, perhaps looking down on the planet they are orbiting.

View of the Habitation Deck with Tunnel and Greenhouse Elements

It’s good to see companies like Airbus – who employ 11’000 people here in the UK – thinking about how we may explore space, and one day get to Mars. And as the super-heavy launch vehicles start becoming the norm, we can prepare to see more and more incredible orbitals. Exciting times!


References:

  • Airbus LOOP https://www.airbus.com/en/airbus-loop
  • Airbus UK https://www.airbus.com/en/our-worldwide-presence/airbus-in-europe/airbus-in-the-united-kingdom

Images:

  • https://mediacentre.airbus.com/mediacentre/sharedBasket;jsessionid=F853DAC09227C8F4FBA40377395F0DE7.f1?token=bDPPDclDg (note, Airbus make it impossible to link to images so search for “LOOP”!)

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