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Molab
Molab
Molab
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned lunar rover. Cancelled 1968. The moderate capacity mobile laboratory (MOLAB) concept was studied in two NASA/MT contracts to determine configurations and capabilities of vehicles in the 2950 to 3850 kg class.

AKA: Mobile Lunar Laboratory;Moderate Capacity Mobile Laboratory. Status: Cancelled 1968. Gross mass: 3,732 kg (8,227 lb). Height: 6.15 m (20.17 ft).

Designed for delivery by the LM Truck, MOLAB was to be capable of surviving six months quiescent storage on the lunar surface, and then be activated to support two men in a pressurized cabin on a 14-day mission with a 7-day stay time contingency in a stationary mode.

A typical configuration consisted of a four wheel vehicle having an internal pressurized volume of 12.8 m3 plus an additional 3.46 m3 airlock. The MOLAB would take advantage of any subsystem improvements evaluated in the Early Lunar Shelter studies such as cryogenic gas storage systems. In essence, a MOLAB related to an Early Lunar Shelter as the MOLEM to the LM shelter. Stay time or experimental payload was traded for mobility. Although the MOLAB was sized for a two man, 14 day mission, the concept could to establish tradeoffs of crew size and stay time in terms of weight and subsystem requirements. A three man 21 day 900 km traverse would require a MOLAB weighing 3810 kg. Average speed would be 10 kph and 320 kg of scientific experiments drawing 112 kW-hr of power could be accommodated. Mass breakdown was as follows:

Fixed Equipment

  • Structure: 636 kg
  • Power supply: 220 kg
  • Mobility: 1,485 kg
  • EC/LSS: 324 kg
  • Astrionics: 320 kg
  • Subtotal: 2985 kg

Expendables

  • Hydrogen for power: 88 kg
  • Oxygen for power: 347 kg
  • Oxygen for crew: 216 kg
  • Others (food, LiOH, etc): 174 kg
  • Subtotal: 825 kg

Total: 3810 kg

Another variant would take two men up to a total range of 396 km at a maximum velocity of 16 km/hr on compacted soils, 9.8 km/hr on maria. Turn radius 7 m; locomotion energy .39 k2-hr/km in uplands. 3,732 kg total mass breakdown: 1,036 kg cabin systems; 825 kg mobility; 282 kg power; 210 kg electronics; 340 kg scientific equipment; 466 kg for Lunar Flying Vehicle (rocket platform for emergency return to LM Taxi); 126 kg for tie downs; and 437 kg for expendables (fuel cell propellants and crew oxygen).

Crew Size: 2. Habitable Volume: 5.66 m3. Electric System: 160.00 kWh.



Subtopics

Northrop Molab American manned lunar rover. Study 1964. The Northrop Molab lunar rover design of March 1964 had 4 wheels, each a flexible torus or controlled flexible disc. It could accommodate a crew of 2 on a 14 day traverse.

Northrop ALSS Rover American manned lunar rover. Study 1964. Northrop completed Molab Studies under a Apollo Logistic Support Systems contract in March 1964.

Bendix Molab American manned lunar rover. Study 1965. The Bendix Molab lunar rover design of June 1965 had 4 wheels and a range of 400 km with a crew of 2 on a 14 day traverse. The cabin had a volume of 12.8 cubic meters.

Family: Lunar Rovers, Moon. Country: USA. Spacecraft: LESA Lunar Base, ALSS Lunar Base. Bibliography: 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 26, 4440.
Photo Gallery

MolabMolab


Moblab lunar mobile Moblab lunar mobile
Moblab lunar mobile lab
Credit: © Mark Wade


MolabMolab
Credit: NASA



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