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Advanced Exploration Systems Division

Exploration Augmentation Module Project

Canceled Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Exploration Augmentation Module (EAM) project goal is to design and deliver a flight module that is to be deployed to Earth-Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit (DRO).  The EAM Project will, as a minimum, define, mature, and plan an implementation approach that will develop a 30-60  day crew habitat capability, airlock, and advanced EVA capabilities, and support deep space research that addresses these varied environmental and mission needs.  This project was canceled for budgetary reasons.

The EAM project goal is to design and deliver a flight module that is to be deployed to Earth-Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit (DRO).  At this location it will perform several functions: 1) perform deep-space research and exploration systems testing, 2) dock with the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle (ARV) and enable 30-to-60-day crewed asteroid utilization missions, and 3) serve as a deep space port for future deep space missions.  The EAM may be launched first to ISS or to lunar DRO as early as FY2020 to support research needed for future deep space missions as well as to extend crew size, exploration functions and mission durations for the asteroid redirect mission.   Acting as a deep space port, the EAM may be mated with an additional pressurized habitation module as early as the year 2028, as an augmentation for conducting possible longer duration missions in Earth-Lunar space or to Mars.  Therefore, the EAM Project will, as a minimum, define, mature, and plan an implementation approach by the end of FY2014 that will develop a 30-60-crew habitat capability, airlock, and advanced EVA capabilities, and support deep space research that addresses these varied environmental and mission needs.

The EAM project end product will possibly include the delivery of the EAM protoflight module for launch in the FY2019 time frame, as well as the flight planning and hardware to accommodate the progressive in-orbit build-up and modifications that will support the exploration capability demonstrations (possibly on ISS), the 30-to-60-day Asteroid Utilization Missions, and the augmented long-duration deep space configurations to support either extended Earth-Lunar missions or deep space excursions such as missions to Mars. The EAM configuration is still under assessment.  The major functions of the EAM are to provide habitation for 30-60 days for a crew of four in deep space docked with the Orion spacecraft; provide EVA capability; provide capability for testing exploration systems (Environmental Controll and Life Support Systems, long duration food storage, radiation mitigation, teleoperations of robotic systems, spacecraft autonomy, etc.) in deep space; provide for exploration of redirected asteroid into DRO, including sample curation and emplacement of instrument;, and to provide a first foothold in deep space for future exploration missions including docking ports for visiting vehicles.

NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) is pioneering new approaches for rapidly developing prototype systems, demonstrating key capabilities, and validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond Earth orbit. AES activities are uniquely related to crew safety and mission operations in deep space, and are strongly coupled to future vehicle development.  Early integration and testing of prototype systems reduces risk and improves affordability of exploration mission elements. The prototype systems developed in AES are to be demonstrated in ground-based test-beds, field tests, and in-flight experiments. In addition to developing building blocks for future missions, AES explores innovative ways to drive a rapid pace of progress, streamline project management, and use limited resources and the NASA workforce more effectively.

For its education and public outreach goal, the EAM project directly contributes to the development of the sciences, technologies, engineering and math (STEM) workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA's strategic goals. The eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) academic innovation challenge is a university-level challenge designed to engage and retain students in STEM, as well as to train and develop the STEM workforce of the future needed to implement U.S. space exploration policy.

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Anticipated Benefits

Project Closeout – Executive Summary

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