Exploration Architecture

Case Studies

As a leader in Space Architecture, XArc has provided the knowledge and skills to complete architecture projects for a broad range of clients all over the world. Take a look at some of our featured Case Studies, ranging from the Virgin Galactic Terminal and Hangar Facility at Spaceport America, to Lunar Outpost Planning and Design.

Sample projects featured below are realized or business development projects currently in progress:

Lunar Outpost Planning and Design

Lunar outpost planning and design
Lunar Outpost Design, Site Planning, and Architectural Systems Integration

  • Concept Architecture Configuration and Planning
  • Structural and Materials Analysis
  • ECLSS and Surface EVA Support
  • Crew Systems and Surface Support Systems
  • Outpost Buildup Sequencing Assessments
Commercial Spaceport Planning and Operations

Virgin Galactic Terminal and Hanger Facility (THF) at Spaceport America
Architectural Programming and Concept of Operations for Spaceport America

XArc is a member of the Foster+Partners/URS architecture design team for the Virgin Galactic Terminal and Hanger Facility (THF) at Spaceport America, and provided programming analysis in the areas of site characterization, hanger operations assessment for spacecraft processing, crew training and astronaut experience, crew and pedestrian flow throughout the facility, and optimization of functional area layouts. (Images courtesy Foster+Partners)

  • Technology Insertion Assessment
  • Process Flow Modeling and Space Utilization
  • Visualization Sequencing Analysis
  • Risk and Mitigation Assessments
In-Situ Construction Techniques

In-Situ Construction Techniques
In-Situ Construction Techniques and Materials of Construction

  • Excavation solution for lunar outpost construction techniques using “bagged” regolith (lunar soil) as a building material
  • Excavation, management, and containment of lunar regolith as a basic building block for construction applications such as building launch pads, blast protection berms, shielding
  • Development of mobility control enabling autonomous or tele-robotic construction
  • Applications for both lunar and terrestrial construction
Secondary Structures for Inflatable Modules

Expandable Floor System Concept for Lunar and Space Module Applications
Expandable Floor System Concept for Lunar and Space Module Applications

  • Concept development for expandable floor system secondary structure applicable to future inflatable habitation modules deployed on the lunar surface or in space
  • Concept of operations for packaging and stowage of expansion beams and floor panels to achieve high cycle packaging / deployment cycles
  • Expansion beams achieve weight and mass reductions through use of composite Hollow Structural Sections (HSS)
Analog Mission Testbed

Lava Tube Analog Mission for Lunar Science and Human Performance Studies
Space Analog Environments Research
Lava Tube Analog Mission for Lunar Science and Human Performance Studies

  • Operational scenarios, technologies, and human and robotic performance feats associated with planetary cave exploration can be benefited by terrestrial analog mission testbeds.
  • Certain geo-morphologic features found at the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park in British Columbia, Canada can serve as a terrestrial analog site for science research and testing of mission operations to lunar subsurface sites. Proposed is an analog mission investigating required science measurements with human performance objectives simulating robotic and human “first contact” with a lunar lava tube. The proposed geographic location for conducting the analog studies is within the protected area of the Nisga’a Lava Bed in proximity to the Tseax River Cone or Aiyansh Volcano where unmapped lava tubes exist.
  • Scope and Objectives of the Research: The idea is to get some understanding of first robotic and human contact with a lunar lava tube through the use of comparable terrestrial lava tube features. Basic scientific understanding of the features is necessary to locate them on the Moon as well as techniques of entering and examining them robotically and by Astronauts.
  • Proposed Methodology: Essentially we simulate a first scientific expedition to a lunar lava tube. By simulating missions to the features on Earth researchers can better understand direction and techniques of exploration of those features on the Moon. An international team of planetary scientists, caving and mining experts, robotic experts, and human performance experts has been assembled to investigate the best path for technology development and how sampling and science can be done on the lunar surface and underground.
  • XArc Corp is responsible for leading team coordination and program management, lava tube characterization for habitation technology, mission operations and human performance research.
Site Characterization Instrument

Site Characterization Instruments
Near Surface Lunar Dust Instrument (NSLDI)

  • Development of a lunar site characterization instrument for measuring solar wind plasma interactions with lunar dust at near surface heights.
  • Characterizes the lunar dusty plasma environment at near surface elevations using high fidelity direct measurement of the charged lunar dust environment to determine electron temperature, density, and electric potential.
  • Allows flexibility for integration of the instrument as a secondary payload into a variety of governmental agency and/or commercially planned lunar lander missions.
  • Enables a “network” of lunar surface solar wind plasma-dust interaction measurement sites using lunar lander secondary payload manifesting opportunities.
  • Provides risk reduction in mission planning through understanding and quantification of potential charged dust impacts on operational designs for lunar outpost systems.
  • Provides data for the evaluation of alternative dust management and removal techniques.