Madhu Thangavelu Bio

LDC 2023 Topic: BuzzCraft: Evolution of A Cislunar Cycler Architecture for Permanent Lunar Settlement Logistics


As part of the Artemis program, NASA intends to have boots back on the moon by 2024, with help from the Gateway station in Lunar orbit. The BuzzCraft concept architecture is an alternative to the current lunar Gateway station proposal and the NASA Artemis reference mission to the lunar south polar region. The BuzzCraft concept architecture proposes a cislunar cycler trajectory as opposed to a lunar orbiting station to build a capable and reliable Earth-Moon logistics channel ahead of a lunar orbiting Gateway station. BuzzCraft systems propose to maximize the use of certified, existing systems and hardware including those from the Apollo missions to accelerate return of humans to the Moon. The primary goal of the BuzzCraft architecture is to maximize private sector and the international community engagement, including emerging spacefaring nations, to quickly execute the Artemis mission to return humans to the Moon. Solar maximum opportunity is taken into consideration to propose deep space radiation experiments on plants and animals in geostationary orbit. Crew safety and quick abort or rescue capability are the overarching priority of the selected early mission opportunity profile. For reasons presented in the earlier Artemis Maxim concept architecture, the equatorial Apollo-11 landing region, namely mare Tranquillitatis, is recommended for early climate science and lava tube exploration. Preliminary systems and operations of the BuzzCraft architecture are presented. BuzzCraft Concept Architecture is a study in progress and several elements, systems and criteria are being evaluated to maximize commercial and international collaboration.


Madhu Thangavelu has a background in Architecture and Engineering. He conducts the ASTE527 graduate Space Exploration Architecture Studio in the Department of Astronautical Engineering within the Viterbi School of Engineering and teaches Space Architecture in the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California. He is the author or coauthor of several publications relating to Space Architecture including a book – The Moon: Resources, Future Development and Settlement by publishers including Elsevier, Routledge, Springer and Wiley. Madhu is on the faculty of the International Space University, an international organization that trains space professionals around the globe. Madhu is an active member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and former Vice Chair of Education for the Los Angeles Section of the AIAA. He is on the board of directors of the National Space Society and also the NSS Vice President for India region. Madhu is the North American coordinator of activities for the Moon Village Association based in Vienna, Austria.