Project Description

The MOBIUS concept architecture presents an evolutionary methodology for lunar tourist missions. In the MOBIUS scenario, a quartet of spacecraft is suggested in a specific supersynchronous Earth orbit as a nominal trajectory for a cislunar, cycling vehicle system. Earth and lunar shuttlecraft service the cycler at Earth perigee and lunar proximal apogee of the selected supersynchronous orbit. ISS is suggested as the departure platform to lunar orbit, and eventually lunar lander shuttles will be used to service paying passengers to the lunar surface on a routine basis. A gradual and steady increment in complexity of mission vehicles and operations is proposed, allowing for evolutionary growth and a self-sustaining
economic model. We believe that this strategy is optimal and has an enormous commercial potential for future space and lunar tourism. In particular, attention is paid to the viability of employing the International Space Station commercially beyond the currently proposed retirement date, extending the useful life of the $100B facility. The MOBIUS concept is modeled using state-of-the-art tools and proposes a viable profile that attempts to balance available technologies with entrepreneurial needs and capital to make commercial, self- sustaining lunar missions possible, maximizing existing assets and technologies as well as currently operating infrastructures, all in the earliest timeframe. MOBIUS  architecture is promoted as an example of how government and private sector can partner to create a
vibrant space activity in the 21st century that caters to the cultural needs of humanity as well as inspiring the new generation of explorers.

About the Author:

Madhu Thangavelu, MSc is space projects director of the Cal-Earth Institute and a fellow at NASA’s Institute of Advanced Concepts. He is an advisory board member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics with a focus on the design of complex space projects, including space stations and exploratory missions. He also teaches at the University of Southern California.

Madhu’s educational background is in Architecture (Masters in Building Science, USC School of Architecture) and in Engineering (Bachelors in Science and Engineering, India). Versions of Madhu’s masters thesis (conceived during ISU ‘88 at MIT) entitled “MALEO: Modular Assembly in Low Earth Orbit. An Alternate Strategy for Lunar Base Establishment” were published in several journals worldwide.

He is a creative consultant to the aerospace industry in the newly evolving field of space architectures complex concept synthesis. His concepts have been reviewed and appreciated by NASA, the National Research Council, the National Space Council, and his work has been presented before the National Academy of Sciences.

Madhu is on the visiting faculty of the International Space University (ISU) and lectures to Space System Architecture students at ISU and at USC. He continues to present and publish original concepts in Space System Architectures and chairs related sessions at conferences. He is a coauthor of the book The Moon: Resources, Future Development and Colonization and is Vice Chairman for Education, Los Angeles Section of the American Institute Of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).


Read the whole paper: MOBIUS