In order to operate in CIS Lunar space it will be important to have fuel depots available to provide fuel to vehicles as they travel around.
These depots will need to be available in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for vehicles that are launched from Earth and plan to travel to different destinations in CIS Lunar space including Lunar Orbit (LO), in LO so vehicles can travel back to LEO as well as in key locations throughout CIS Lunar space especially in the future when we are mining resources from asteroids etc.
Initially, the fuel depots, especially in LEO, would be refueled by Earth-launched vehicles, however, longer-term these depots should be refueled using CIS Lunar or Lunar facilities.
Proposed Fuel Depot Architecture
The depot will consist of a docking core where visiting vehicles will dock using a common docking mechanism. A common fuel connection mechanism will then connect to the vehicle which will allow methane and oxygen to be transferred between the vehicle and depot.
A number of fuel tanks will be connected to the docking core to allow storage of the methane and oxygen.
There are two proposed ways that the fuel tanks could be filled.
- Visiting fuel vehicles would deliver fuel.
- Tanks could be filled at another location and then docked to the docking core.
Proposed Lunar Fuel Architecture
Based on our understanding of the moon we know it is possible to create Methane and Oxygen from the resources available on the surface. This architecture would utilize these resources to refuel depots.
Using this architecture fuel tanks would be filled on the surface of the moon and when full would be launched to Lunar Orbit where a transfer vehicle would then transfer them to the destination depot.
Once at the destination depot, the empty tanks would be undocked and new tanks docked to the depot. The empty tanks would then be returned to Lunar Orbit and returned to the surface to be filled.
Proposed CIS Lunar Fuel Architecture
As we develop manufacturing facilities in CIS Lunar space it will be possible to produce the fuel in space instead of having to launch it from Earth or Lunar surface. The same approach would be used to actually get the fuel to the fuel depots