Today in AFJ History

December 14, 2013  

1962: Army preps for moon base

Artist's conception of a lunar base prepared for the Army's Project Horizon study.

From the archive: December 14, 1962

Editor’s note: This ambitious order followed the 1956 Project Horizon study led by Wernher von Braun at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency.

Army Gets Lunar Construction Task

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has asked the Army Corps of Engineers to define a research program which would be required in order to give the U.S. a construction capability. The study, authorized by D. Brainerd Holmes, director of NASA’s Office of Management and Budget, to Brig. Gen. T. J. Hayes, assistant to the Chief of Engineers for NASA Support, is to be completed in six months at a cost of $100,000.

Mr. Holmes emphasized in his letter that although a requirement for construction of a manned lunar laboratory has not been established, “we feel that initial studies are required now which can lead to the existence of a lunar construction capability…”

Objectives of the study are:

  1. Define the research and development effort required to provide a U.S. lunar research facility.
  2. Define experimental facilities on Earth needed to carry out such a research effort.
  3. Prepare schedules and budgetary estimates required to carry out a lunar construction research program.

The new study will take into account results of related earlier studies by the Air Force and the Army (Project Horizon). Areas of research to be considered will include lunar soil characteristics, lunar soil movement and excavation techniques, construction materials, structural design, power generation, storing and handling of life-supporting atpmosphere, water supply and sanitation, construction tools and human engineering and training.