MARINA: MAnaged, Reconfigurable, In-space Nodal Assembly


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Team: Matthew Moraguez, George Lordos, Valentina Sumini, Alejandro Trujillo, samuel I. Wald, Johannes Norheim, Meghan Maupin, John Stillman, Alpha Arsano, Anran Li, Zoe Lallas, Caitlin Mueller (AdviSOr)


The LEO project is a new commercial space station that would ensure continued development of the commercial launch market after ISS will be decommissioned by 2028. This station could lead to the emergence of new commercial space activities and markets at permanent destinations in LEO and cislunar space. The commercial station would also foster the emergence of novel space-based industries that would in turn provide NASA with improved technology development at reduced cost1. The MAnaged, Reconfigurable, In-space Nodal Assembly (MARINA) commercial space station concept is a modular LEO station that lowers the barrier to entry for commercial activity in space. It will be in a 400km, 51° orbit. It’s backbone is made of nodes that provide radially adjacent customer modules with structural connections and common interfaces for utilities, such as power, water, air, and thermal control. Large companies or space agencies can launch customer modules and pay rent to dock them to the station’s nodes. In the design different 4 different configurations are considered according to the actualdemand.

The modular MARINA concept allows for a modified set of nodes and modules to be outfitted and integrated as a new Mars transit vehicle (MTV). MARINA will have accrued flight heritage for components that can be used on the MTV, while allowing for incremental improvements. The MARINA concept promotes commercial technology development and space expertise, while also providing the framework for flexible response of the MTV design to these technological developments. Many of the technology developments and lessons learned during the 2022 to 2030 time frame will be used in the MTV. The MTV will transport a crew of six from Earth to Mars and must be able to support the crew for up to 900 days27. The functionality that the MTV must provide is similar to that of the LEO station. However, significant changes arise in subsystem design because the MTV is much smaller than MARINA and undergoes Mars transit as opposed to remaining in LEO. The MTV will use updated instantiations of the LEO modules and will be assembled in LEO along with a dedicated propulsion module.

The project won the 1 graduate division award at NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts - Academic Linkage – RASC-AL 2017.