In the Spotlight

Lunar Multi-Purpose Habitat activities officially underway

In the Spotlight

Lunar Multi-Purpose Habitat activities officially underway

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    Thales Alenia Space recently signed a contract with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to initiate activities on a lunar habitation module. Named the Multi-Purpose Habitat (MPH), it aims be the first permanent outpost on the Moon. This new agreement reaffirms Italy’s central role in crewed and robotic space exploration on the Moon and in deep space. It also strengthens the company’s leadership position in lunar exploration, as our teams are working on the development of three pressurized modules dedicated to Lunar Gateway: ESPRIT and I-HAB for ESA and HALO for Northrop Grumman.

    "MPH will mark a historic milestone as the first Italian habitation module to operate on the lunar surface. This is a matter of great pride for our company, which has the unique technical and organizational skills to overcome challenges of this kind " commented Franco Fenoglio, Head of human planetary exploration and robotics programs at Thales Alenia Space.

    lunar shelter concept

    ©Thales Alenia Space

    Confirmation of MPH’s significance came in mid-October with the completion of NASA’s Element Initiation Review, acknowledging the crucial functionalities of the Italian MPH module within the Artemis program’s lunar surface architecture. Artemis’ purpose is to ensure a sustainable human presence on the Moon as a stepping stone for future missions to Mars. This latest milestone confirms Thales Alenia Space’s role as a global leader in the design, construction, and operation of habitation modules for human space exploration, in which our teams in Turin are closely involved.

    Our next challenge, in line with ASI’s and NASA’s requirements, will be to complete the Mission Concept Review (MCR), expected in the first quarter of 2024. This will be a key milestone to move the project forward to the next phases of critical technology design and development of the module. Life-support solutions, even for short-to-medium durations in the inhospitable lunar environment, demand cutting-edge technologies to provide protection from regolith and survive the cold lunar nights.

    In this initial phase, Thales Alenia Space will be tasked with coordinating an industrial consortium of large, small, and medium-sized companies from the national supply chain, to advance the program to its implementation phase.

    Through module design activities and future collaboration on Italian technological and production capabilities within the Italian ecosystem, the primary objective remains to deliver a secure, comfortable, and multifunctional habitation module for astronauts, able to interface with other systems and components in the Artemis architecture.

    In the words of the MPH program team: “Our purpose is to lead scientific and technological development in constructing the first Italian human outpost on the lunar surface to enhance and support human space exploration on the Moon and beyond.”