The main lunar installation of the early 1980s, the SHADO Moonbase is located in the eastern half of Mare Tranquillitatis (The Sea of Tranquillity). The SHADO Moonbase is officially known as a [NATO?] military installation that has "a complex and hazardous mission". Its true mission - defending mankind against hostile UFOs - is of course classified. According to international agreement, SHADO Moonbase is off-limits (incl. radio frequency), except in an emergency.
The facility consists of five 11-metre diameter spherical crew modules connected by walkways to a central section, which contains a "central park" as well as vehicle garages. Each module also has an emergency airlock to the lunar surface. It would seem that the base is equipped with Space: 1999 type artificial gravity generators. The main residence building is the "sleep sphere" while the moonbase command, communications and tracking facilities are supervised from the "control sphere". There is also a "leisure sphere" containing lounge and dining areas for the crew, including the SHADO Interceptor pilots, which are on constant standby in case of UFO attack. Other areas named in the series include Area 7, general quarters, explosive store,reception/embarkation area a gymnasium and a medical centre. The moonbase complex has an external air and water installation located a few hundred metres away on the lunar surface; it seems likely that all oxygen and water are extracted in-situ from lunar soil and/or recycled from waste. Apart from UFO tracking and detection, the SHADO lunar outpost also acts as a base for SHADO spacecraft. The main crew transfer and resupply craft is the Lunar Module - a 3-crew single-stage-to-orbit spaceship powered by a single large rocket engine. The Lunar Module is launched from high in the Earth's atmosphere by a large Lunar Carrier vertical-takeoff and landing (VTOL) jetplane to conserve rocket fuel. The Lunar Module is fast enough to reach the Moon in a single day, implying it carries "antigravity screens" like the Space: 1999 Eagles (an alternative explanation is the Lunar Module is completely refuelled at a space station in low Earth orbit before continuing its lunar journey). The Lunar Module lands vertically on the launch ramp of the SHADO Moonbase Reception Sphere.
The Moonbase complement is probably in the ~12-24 crew range so the crew rotation and resupply flight rate must be very high (a deleted scene from the Flight Path episode indicates there are flights at roughly 24 hour intervals).
SHADO Moonbase houses three Interceptors; small VTOL one-man "space fighters" equipped with a single nuclear missile. The Interceptor crews are on constant standby for launch within two minutes of a UFO "Yellow Alert". The Interceptors mainly operate in cislunar space -- the craft does not have an atmospheric reentry capability -- but it occasionally performs missions in low Earth orbit as well (perhaps the Interceptor can be refuelled by other spacecraft to extend its range?). As in Space: 1999 the pilots rely extensively on computers for nuclear missile timing / guidance and course corrections (the data is supplied either by Moonbase or the Space Intruder Detector satellite).
The vicinity of SHADO Moonbase is shown on a U.S. Geological Survey map in the episode "Survival". In the early 1980s there were several small civilian, military as well as commercial lunar outposts operated by different national and international organisations. By 1999, all lunar operations had apparently been consolidated through a single large international facility located near the lunar south pole -- Moonbase Alpha.
Moonbase also has four VTOL suborbital transport vehicles ("Moonmobiles"). These can carry up to three astronauts and equipment to other locations on the lunar surface. The vehicle normally skims the lunar surface at an altitude of only a few metres (to avoid UFO detection?), but greatly resembles the Space: 1999 Eagle Transporter in other aspects. The design is closely based on the Moonmobile seen in the Captain Scarlet puppet series. The Moonmobile carries missiles for self-defence.
Being a military installation, SHADO Moonbase itself is well armed. The Moonbase crew modules are equipped with rapid-fire cannons and there are also two missile launcher equipped tanks (these serve the same function as the "battle tanks" seen in the Space: 1999 episode The Infernal Machine). Unlike Space: 1999, none of the spacecraft is armed with lasers or other directed energy weapons (these presumably became operational only in the late-1980s or 1990s).
Private companies such as the Dalotek Corporation also operate small man-tended mining facilities on the moon; these companies utilise the same spacesuits as SHADO so they are probably military suppliers trying to commercialise the new technologies. The USSR also maintains a manned lunar outpost located in the Apennines mountains some 150 miles east of SHADO Moonbase. The Soviet facility includes a large lunar surface rover operated by the state-owned Sovatex mining corporation (according to a newspaper headline in the pilot episode, "moongold" has been found in the Albategnius crater). Straker doubts the viability of commercial mining in one episode, since all the valuable deposits supposedly were taken away long ago.
Beyond the Moon, it seems NASA has been launching a number of manned interplanetary "GSP"-class craft for a number of years. In one episode, the SHADO Interceptors escort a small and presumably unmanned probe returning from Venus (perhaps due to the "venusian plague" contamination hazard later alluded to in Space: 1999?). The International Astrophysical Commission carries out human space flight research using its fleet of "Space Tracker" stations (aka. "Deep Space Probes"). IAC is responsible for removing space junk and some Space Trackers occasionally (once a year) destroy hazardous space junk using explosive "limpet" probes.
- Location area: 30,450 square feet
- Sphere diameter: 27 feet
- Sphere protective skin thickness: 18 inches (1.5 feet)
- Walkway length: 45 feet
- Central Park area: 625 square feet
- Personnel: 50
- Air and water purification plant location: 200 yards (1,200 feet) from Moonbase
- Sphere numbers: Reception Sphere (1), Reactor Sphere (2), Control Sphere (3), Leisure Sphere (4), Sleep Sphere (5)
- No unauthorized bases, vehicles or personnel are allowed within 50 miles of the base.