Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “moonbase”

Project Horizon [moon base] (US Army)

Project Horizon (US Army)
(V.1 http://www.history.army.mil/faq/horizon/Horizon_V1.pdf)
(V.2 http://www.history.army.mil/faq/horizon/Horizon_V2.pdf)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What skills would be needed to maintain a lunar outpost?
  • What functions might a permanent lunar colony do?
  • How were spaceships and spacesuits envisioned in the 1950s?
  • What items need to be included in a budget for a lunar outpost?
  • What are the limiting factors on launch sites to build a lunar outpost?


A two volume feasibility study by Werner Von Braun’s group at the Army Redstone Center that argued for a full time moonbase of about 15 soldiers. The cost estimate to build this moonbase was less than that of the actual Apollo program.

The first volume is organized as follows:

  • Introduction – includes justification of the project, include the “fact” that the Soviets had the capability of landing a man on the moon by 1968.
  • Technical considerations and plans – Discusses the study’s scope, a description of the outpost, transportation requirements, etc.
  • Management and planning considerations
  • Non-technical supporting considerations – includes political, psychological and security implications

The narrative section of volume 1 is followed by three appendices:

  • Policy of the United States with respect to activities in space
  • Legal and political implications – includes the murkiness of land claims on the Moon and argues against using Antarctica as a precedent
  • Technical services support capabilities – discusses the types of specialities needed to build and maintain an outpost.

Volume 1 also has a list of figures, tables and charts that may provide helpful information to the writer, including:

  • Cross Section of typical outpost compartments
  • Typical lunar suit
  • Lunar landing vehicle

The second volume, at 298 pages, goes into deeper detail on the outpost and is organized into the following chapters.

  • Introduction
  • Outpost
  • Space transportation system
  • Communications electronics
  • Launch site
  • Program logistics
  • Research and development
  • program cost and schedule
  • Bibliography

Like volume 1, this volume also has a list of tables and figures. Some of the tables of possible interest to writers include:

  • Human engineering considerations
  • Flight time and velocity values for various Earth-Moon trajectories
  • Data summary of Saturn II with nuclear upper stage
  • Summary of weights of material transported to the lunar surface (1965-1967)
  • Map of Moon with areas of interst for landing site
  • Nuclear power plant on Moon (60kw)

These two volumes together should at the very least acquaint you with the basic requirements of a lunar outpost, which really haven’t changed all that much since 1959. These volumes could be used in an alternate history or used in the story of manned exploration by other races. While I can’t prove he had access to these reports, Clive Cussler’s book, Cyclops central theme feels like a privatized version of Project Horizon.


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