Rosas Base

A lunar base designed by repurposing SpaceX Starships

The next step forward in space exploration is returning humans to the Moon and establishing a permanent human presence.
Sending humans to the Moon encompasses challenging environmental factors to human performance and health.
Current state-of-the-art technologies, like the Artemis program and the SpaceX Starship Human Landing System (HLS), is the inspiration of the Rosas Mission, to ensure feasibility and optimize human performance.

"The Moon is the first milestone on the road to the stars" - Arthur C. Clarke.  

The pains of building a lunar base

1973: The Saturn V and the explored Saturn Workshop, best known as Skylab:

1992: STS-Lab Space station Concept (Ware and Culbertson, 1992):

Today: SpaceX Lunar Starship
The upcoming, largest, piece of infrastructure in history that can land on the Moon.

Concept generation for the base design

Before proceding with the engineering design, a series of concept proposals were explored.

With this rapid sketching of the baseline mission it was possible to arrive to a stronger concept in a faster way.

Horizontal hypothesis base concept

In order to maximize the utility of the volume, the selected orientation was a difficult one: by tipping the whole vehicle on the side, hazards to the crew could be diminished and the base could be further expanded.

However, how could you tip a 50 meter high starship?

The baseline Concept proposal

In order to assure all of the requirements for habitability, the design needed to include flooring, wall mounts, stairways, entrance hatches and airlocks.
Surrounding the base a 3m thick regolith layer would be deposited.

The transfer mission

But how do you get a starship to the Moon? And, most importantly, how do you create a construction site on the Moon?

For that we need to consider a concept of operations derived from the state-of-the-art knowledge of how SpaceX Starships travel to the Moon.
First of all, there were needed two starships:
- one with the construction crew
- another to be transformed into a base
Finally, many refueling missions would be necessary to get both starships to the lunar surface.

The MOROCAS: Modular robotic construction autonomous system

A modular, remotely operated, team of robots capable of preforming construction tasks.

This system was designed in order to reduce the amount of EVA time necessary.

The construction timeline

1. Horizontalization: After landing both starships, the base starship (future RosasBase) is horizontalized with the help of the MOROCAS system.

2. Volume connection: after the starship is horizontalized, the construction crew moves in and starts preparing the fuel tank transformation.

3. Interior installation:
Happening after the whole structure is stable and pressurized. The crew brings a series of moduler tiles to assemble the interior divisions of Rosas Base.

4. Regolith coverage

The lunar environment is a dangerous place. Micrometeors and radiation can be deadly to the whole crew and mission. This way a layer of regolith is deposited by the morocas along the duration of several weeksto months.

A window to our Home

On the side of the the starship, one of the airlocks is transformed into a cupola-style expandable volume. This enables a space for the astronauts to look at the exterior of the base, and, most importantly, to gaze at our Earth.

The OSCAR cupola is retractable. This way, the interior of the base can stay under the protecting regolith, while the viewing area can stay outside for short duration observations of the Lunar vista, and of Earth.

Photorealistic gallery


ISU and Team Project Solutions for Construction of a Lunar Base wish to express their sincere appreciation to Lockheed Martin Corporation for its sponsorship of this project.

We would also like to thank the chairs and teaching assistants for their amazing support during this team project. They have been the key factor in supporting this team during the process and therefore the success of this lunar team report.

Lastly, we would like to thank the International Space University and SSP21 staff for making this year’s program happen, during the COVID-19 period and supporting the team in the best way possible.

Rob Postema
Matthew Sorgenfrei
Antonio Martelo Gómez
Xiaochen Zhang

A special thank you

In loving memory of Oscar Federico Rosas Castillo – an adventurous, spirited soul who brought us together and made our world a better place. We are better for having known you. May your light shine bright upon us until we see you on the other side of the stars.

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