NASA and partners develop power systems for future Moon bases

(ORDO NEWS) — Sandia National Laboratories is well known for developing robust electrical microgrids for military bases and urban services. Now researchers at Sandia have teamed up with NASA to design a power system for the lunar base.

The concept of a lunar base as part of NASA’s Artemis (“Artemis”) series of missions involves two separate, spatially separated modules – a habitation module and a module for extracting fuel components from local resources and obtaining fuel from them.

These modules can be separated by tens of kilometers. The power grid concept for the lunar base therefore includes two separate microgrids interconnected to increase reliability.

Sandia engineers are currently working on controllers to control the “resource center” microgrid and link the two microgrids together, while NASA engineers are working on a controller to control the residential module’s power systems, as this system will be similar in many ways to a direct current power system. International Space Station (ISS).

A feature of the lunar power system will be the presence of a large number of energy sources, including solar panels and fuel generators.

Operation at low direct current voltages can be a problem, since the scale of power transfer distances at the lunar base significantly exceeds the distances over which power is transferred to the ISS, Sandia engineers noted.

Sandia’s current testing includes computer simulations of real equipment to help determine network stability during overloads and underloads, and sizing power storage devices to buffer changes in load or incoming power flow.

The end result of the work of the Sandia and NASA science teams should be a complete set of required power generation and storage devices, as well as control devices, members of the project’s science team explained.

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