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Technology Applications that Support Space ExplorationSeveral enabling technologies have been identified that would provide significant benefits for future space exploration. In-Space demonstrations should be chosen so that these technologies will have a timely opportunity to improve efficiencies and reduce risks for future spaceflight. An early window exists to conduct ground and flight demonstrations that make use of existing assets that were developed for the Space Shuttle and the Constellation programs. The work could be mostly performed using residual program civil servants, existing facilities and current commercial launch capabilities. Partnering these abilities with the emerging commercial sector, along with other government agencies, academia and with international partners would provide an affordable and timely approach to get the launch costs down for these payloads, while increasing the derived benefits to a larger community. There is a wide scope of varied technologies that are being considered to help future space exploration. However, the cost and schedule would be prohibitive to demonstrate all these in the near term. Determining which technologies would yield the best return in meeting our future space needs is critical to building an achievable Space Architecture that allows exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit. The best mix of technologies is clearly to be based on our future needs, but also must take into account the availability of existing assets and supporting partners. Selecting those technologies that have complimentary applications will provide the most knowledge, with reasonable cost, for future use The plan is to develop those applications that not only mature the technology but actually perform a useful task or mission. These might include such functions as satellite servicing, a propulsion stage, processing lunar regolith, generating and transmitting solar power, cryogenic fluid transfer and storage and artificial gravity. Applications have been selected for assessment for future consideration and are addressed in this paper. These applications have been made available to the various NASA study groups that are determining the next steps the Agency must take to secure a sound foundation for future space exploration The paper also addresses how follow-on demonstrations, as launch performance grows, can build on the earlier applications to provide increased benefits for both the commercial and scientific communities. The architecture of incrementally building upon previous successes and insights dramatically lowers the overall associated risk for developing and maturing the key enabling technologies. The goal is to establish a potential business case that encourages commercial activity, thereby reducing the cost for the demonstration while using the technology maturation in developing readiness for future space exploration with overall less risk.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Henderson, Edward M. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Holderman, Mark L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2011
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
47th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference(San Diego, CA)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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