Lockheed Martin Proposes 2028 Outpost in Mars Orbit


Mars Base Camp Credit: Lockheed Martin

Mars Base Camp
Credit: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin has put forward a proposal which answers one of the primary criticisms leveled at NASA’s “Journey to Mars,” namely that it doesn’t get there soon enough.

The plan, which the company is calling Mars Base Camp, would see the agency forgo a good part of NASA’s lengthy foray into Cis-Lunar space, and instead establish a small space station in orbit around the Red Planet beginning in 2028, with the primary purpose being to perform low latency tele-robotics from that vantage point.

As might be expected with any plan coming from Lockheed Martin, it heavily features the Orion spacecraft, employing two of them, along with two other modules, a laboratory and living quarters, to make up the outpost.

In addition to testimony before a House science committee yesterday, the plan was also put forward at the Humans 2 Mars Summit taking place in Washington D.C. In that context, it joined a number of other proposals from different institutions all assuming the use of SLS and Orion as the unassailable baseline. Taken together it tended to underscore the fact that there still really is no plan, only a number of competing mission proposals all using some of the the same basic hardware elements.

All the Pieces Credit: Lockheed Martin

All the Pieces
Credit: Lockheed Martin

Besides offering the advantage of timeliness, Mars Base Camp would also see early use of the one of the most critical elements of most Mars missions, which in this case would be re-purposed from the almost dead-as-disco Asteroid Redirect Mission; a high power solar electric transfer vehicle which would pre-position the laboratory module in Mars orbit. The Mars Base Camp would house six astronauts, who among other things, would use one of the Orions as an excursion module for close flybys of the planet’s two small moons, Phobos and Deimos.


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3 Comments on "Lockheed Martin Proposes 2028 Outpost in Mars Orbit"

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  1. Art says:

    I feel that this is going to be as expensive as Lockheed’s building of the Orion capsule. NASA can’t afford another cost plus program on the order of SLS/Orion. And I feel that Lockheed’s proposal would be many times as expensive as SLS/Orion. Of course I’m willing to be proven wrong.

    • PK Sink says:

      I agree with you, Art. It looks very cool, well thought out, and expensive. It’s great that NASA is competing different ideas for habs. There should be plenty more fun to come.

  2. PK Sink says:

    “assuming the use of SLS and Orion as the unassailable baseline.”

    Too true. The word “entrenched” comes to my mind.

    “the almost dead-as-disco Asteroid Redirect Mission”

    Beautifully said. Let’s hope so.

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