Former astronaut and director of superior packages for Lockheed Martin Tony Antonelli talks about Donatello, the NextSTEP habitat.
Malcolm Denemark, FLORIDA TODAY


Picture this: You’re hovering over the moon in zero gravity with three different folks in an aluminum container that finest might be described as a bloated faculty bus that is half house laboratory and half intergalactic Day’s Inn.

Add robotic work stations, a spot to train and science payloads and situations are probably get tight for the 2 to a few weeks you would be in house. Every inch counts within the lunar habitat as you eat, sleep and assist with missions on the moon and into deep house.

Lockheed Martin Co.’s Space Team on Thursday supplied a uncommon peek of its imaginative and prescient of a deep house lunar habitat that might be a key element of an area gateway. That gateway would function a floating spaceport for house automobiles leaving earth on missions to deep house.

Lockheed is one of six firms creating lunar habitat modules and hoping, finally, for NASA’s approval and is a component of the company’s NextSTEP contract. 

Lockheed’s model — named Donatello — was one of three modules made years in the past to switch cargo to the International Space Station. The modules match snugly within the house shuttle payload bay.

More: Boeing Starliner astronauts make first official visit to Kennedy Space Center

More: Launch of NASA’s flagship Webb observatory will be 2021

Early subsequent yr NASA might choose one of the six groups growing prototypes, or take the very best components from every to develop the NextSTEP habitat. NASA crews will consider the prototypes in early 2019.

“They will come in spring of next year to evaluate this from a ‘could they live, could they work and operate’ from inside our habitat module,” mentioned Tony Antonelli, director Advanced Programs; Lockheed Martin Space

It’s exhausting to seek out prototype particulars of the 5 different groups concerned within the NextStep program. And Lockheed Martin engineers, who supplied viewings of the Donatello shell, did not tip their palms an excessive amount of on the intricacies of their design.


In the subsequent few days, the prototype can be closed to the general public in preparation for the NASA crew analysis subsequent yr.

Lockheed Martin workforce members mentioned they’ve heard bits and items of what the rivals are doing however have not seen something of word but to make a comparability. One benefit the Lockheed Martin habitat design may need for NASA is the corporate’s position as prime contractor NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

Orion is the one spacecraft designed for long-duration, human-rated deep house exploration and the spacecraft will transport people to interplanetary locations past low Earth orbit, such because the moon and ultimately Mars, and return them safely again to Earth.


The Astronaut Training Experience has its grand opening on the KSC Visitor Complex Thursday morning,
Malcolm Denemark, FLORIDA TODAY

Earlier Thursday, Lockheed Martin executives met on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to formally announce its sponsorship of the Astronaut Training Experience,” (or ATX) which now carries the moniker “Exploring with Lockheed Martin.”

The occasion additionally included a particular go to by 15 college students from Stone Magnet Middle School in Melbourne or  Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay.


Jaedon Hight, an eighth grader at Stone, gave the attraction’s Micro Gravity Simulator a assessment that most likely ranks as 4 stars for a 12-year-old.


Boeing Starliner Astronauts Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, Chris Ferguson, Nicole Mann and Suni Williams made their first go to to KSC as a workforce on Thursday.

“This is really cool,” mentioned Jaedon, including, “I think it would be pretty cool to go into space.”

“The thing I really love about this is the amount of energy and thought that went into making this an educational experience — this isn’t just an amusement attraction,” mentioned Lisa Callahan, vice chairman and common supervisor, Commercial for Lockheed Martin Space. “This is real learning that is taking place.”

The ATX attraction opened in February and has confirmed to be well-liked with customer middle visitors.

Price is enterprise editor at FLORIDA TODAY.

Contact Price at 321-242-3658

or [email protected]

Twitter: @Fla2dayBiz

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