MARINA – a luxury space complex.
Image courtesy of the MARINA team

Admittedly, it’s a mouthful: the Managed, Reconfigurable, In-space Nodal Assembly. Call it MARINA for short.

MARINA is a winning design created by an interdisciplinary team of MIT graduate students representing five departments across the Institute.

Designed as a commercially owned and operated space station, MARINA features a luxury hotel as the primary anchor tenant and NASA as a temporary co-anchor tenant for 10 years.


Future use

The concept won a design contest held by NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage Design Competition Forum. The challenge involved designing a commercially enabled habitable module for use in low Earth orbit that would be extensible for future use as a Mars transit vehicle. The team’s design won first place in the competition’s graduate division.

MARINA’s key engineering innovations include extensions to the International Docking System Standard (IDSS) interface; modular architecture of the backbone of MARINA’s node modules; and a distribution of subsystem functions throughout the node modules.

Left to right: Caitlin Mueller (faculty advisor), Matthew Moraguez, George Lordos, and Valentina Sumini are some of the members of the interdisciplinary MIT team that won first place in the graduate division of the Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage Design Competition Forum.
Photo courtesy of the MARINA team.

Space holidays

“Modularized service racks connect any point on MARINA to any other point via the extended IDSS interface. This enables companies of all sizes to provide products and services in space to other companies, based on terms determined by the open market,” explains MARINA team lead Matthew Moraguez, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “Together these decisions provide scalability, reliability, and efficient technology development benefits to MARINA and NASA.”

Valentina Sumini, a postdoc at MIT, adds that MARINA’s flagship anchor tenant, a luxury Earth-facing eight-room space hotel complete with bar, restaurant, and gym, “will make orbital space holidays a reality.”

Other revenue-generating features include rental of serviced berths on external International Docking Adapter ports for customer-owned modules and rental of interior modularized rack space to smaller companies that provide contracted services to station occupants. These secondary activities may involve satellite repair, in-space fabrication, food production, and funded research.

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