- establishing an initial infrastructure on the Moon -

This Plan focuses on the development of the Moon because that is where settlement will start. But there should be simultaneous development of Mars, Earth orbit, and the asteroids.

We can establish a transportation between the Earth and Moon using proven, cost-effective, public-private programs. Such a set of programs could be called Lunar COTS thereby repeating the success of a recent NASA program. Different companies would compete for NASA agreements for launches, landers, and lunar surface operations. The United States could call for other countries to fund their own companies for some friendly competition and redundancy. These would be the first phases of a set of five funding phases resulting in economically-viable settlement.

The decision-makers need to recognize the potential for SpaceX's Starship and to establish a program to incorporate this capability once proven. Until that time, they should hedge their bets by continuing the current program while securing a transferrable set of commercially-viable Falcon Heavy launchers, reusable XEUS landers, and developing telerobots and habitats. This Plan does not find that the Gateway is necessary given the option of just rendezvousing in high lunar orbit.

The first uncrewed mission should deliver a payload with enough power systems, redundant telerobots, and spare parts to harvest lunar polar ice. An Ice Harvester telerobot could combine multiple functions to extract water from the lunar dirt. Hardware would be iteratively developed in laboratory environment simulating all of the known conditions of the lunar poles including suspending hardware with tethers to simulate the 1/6th gravity.

Once lunar ice is processed into propellant, the refueled lander could ascend to an Earth-Moon gravitational balance point where the next Falcon Heavy could now deliver nearly twice as much payload thereby giving it the capability of the Saturn V. With reflights of the lunar lander, the flight experience necessary to human-rate the landers could be achieved with relatively few Falcon Heavy launches.

The UniHab is a concept for a large, flat-roofed habitat providing all of the space necessary to support a crew of eight. Telerobotically covered with lunar dirt to protect against radiation and with an indoor centrifuge providing up to four hours of full, artificial gravity. indoor centrifuge providing up to four hours per day of full, artificial gravity. Click here to watch a video describing the process from the UniHab to a settlement.

Inside the UniHab would be an area used to grow all of the food needed by the Initial Crew. This would include aquaponics as well. The crew would plant, harvest, and process the plants fresh or store them for later use. The crew would use labor-saving equipment to prepare delicious meals.

After establishing a south polar habitat, telerobots could drive north while compacting the lunar dirt to create a network of basic roads throughout the Moon. This would allow international astronauts and later tourists to use automated solar-electric vehicles to drive throughout the Moon without having to consume precious propellant. It would also provide a means of transporting water and other minerals to distant settlements.

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