Notional Mission Operations for Robotic Lunar Mining

Date

2023-05-11

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Abstract

As humanity begins its return to the Moon and the commercialization of spaceflight, there will be a need to extract local in-situ resources from the Moon. This thesis proposes how a commercial test-bed application for extracting water-ice to produce hydrogen and oxygen on the Lunar surface could be managed and fit within the currently planned Artemis missions to the Lunar South Pole. Assumptions are made about the exact methods of water-ice extraction, processing, and storage based on currently available technologies. Regardless of the specifics the same basic process is followed for all water-ice in-situ resource extraction. Instead, this paper focuses specifically on the human-factors requirements and remote operators essential to mission success. Special consideration is given to how the process and systems are managed from Earth to promote efficiency, prevent burnout, and enable mission success. The author pulls extensively from his decade of experience in crewed spacecraft operations at Mission Control Houston, human factors, and previous work designing a single Artemis mission control team to fly multiple spacecraft at once.

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Keywords

Human factors, Lunar mining, In-situ, In-situ, Mission, Operations

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