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In-Space Assembly Capability Assessment for Potential Human Exploration and Science ApplicationsHuman missions to Mars present several major challenges that must be overcome, including delivering multiple large mass and volume elements, keeping the crew safe and productive, meeting cost constraints, and ensuring a sustainable campaign. Traditional methods for executing human Mars missions minimize or eliminate in-space assembly, which provides a narrow range of options for addressing these challenges and limits the types of missions that can be performed. This paper discusses recent work to evaluate how the inclusion of in-space assembly in space mission architectural concepts could provide novel solutions to address these challenges by increasing operational flexibility, robustness, risk reduction, crew health and safety, and sustainability. A hierarchical framework is presented to characterize assembly strategies, assembly tasks, and the required capabilities to assemble mission systems in space. The framework is used to identify general mission system design considerations and assembly system characteristics by assembly strategy. These general approaches are then applied to identify potential in-space assembly applications to address each challenge. Through this process, several focus areas were identified where applications of in-space assembly could affect multiple challenges. Each focus area was developed to identify functions, potential assembly solutions and operations, key architectural trades, and potential considerations and implications of implementation. This paper helps to identify key areas to investigate were potentially significant gains in addressing the challenges with human missions to Mars may be realized, and creates a foundation on which to further develop and analyze in-space assembly concepts and assembly-based architectures.
Document ID
20170009114
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Jefferies, Sharon A. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Jones, Christopher A. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Arney, Dale C. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Stillwagen, Frederic H. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Chai, Patrick R. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Hutchinson, Craig D. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Stafford, Matthew A. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Moses, Robert W. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Dempsey, James A. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Rodgers, Erica M. (NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Kwan, Henry H. (Georgia Inst. of Tech. Atlanta, GA, United States)
Downs, Sean P. (Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO, United States)
Date Acquired
September 27, 2017
Publication Date
September 12, 2017
Subject Category
Systems Analysis and Operations Research
Report/Patent Number
NF1676L-26534
Meeting Information
AIAA SPACE 2017 Conference(Orlando, FL)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 683678.04.07.02
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

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