Conceptual Design of a Crewed Platform in the Venusian Atmosphere

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M. Grass et al. (2020), JBIS, 73, pp.115-125

Refcode: 2020.73.115
Keywords: Conceptual design, Feasibility study, Student workshop, Venus exploration

After the initial flood of spacecraft targeting Venus in the early stages of the space age, missions to our sister planet have become rare. Since decades, space agencies and industrial partners around the world have been focusing on either Mars or the Moon due to various reasons. Even though surface activities on Venus entail a very harsh environment, its atmosphere offers a habitable region at roughly 50 km altitude with environmental conditions comparable to the surface on Earth. This region was the target of the Space Station Design Workshop (SSDW) 2019, hosted by the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart. Two interdisciplinary teams composed of international students and young professionals, supported by experts from industries and universities, tackled the challenge of performing a preliminary design study of a manned habitat floating inside the Venusian atmosphere. The mission designs include mission analysis, subsystem design and programmatic aspects, derived from various trade-off studies performed in the one-week competitive work environment of the SSDW. The paper compares and discusses the outcome of the workshop and identifies key drivers and creative ideas for future exploration of our sister planet.

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