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Human Space Flight and Future Major Space Astrophysics Missions: Servicing and AssemblySome concepts for candidate future "flagship" space observatories approach the payload limits of the largest launch vehicles planned for the next few decades, specifically in the available volume in the vehicle fairing. This indicates that an alternative to autonomous self-deployment similar to that of the James Webb Space Telescope will eventually be required. Moreover, even before this size limit is reached, there will be significant motivation to service, repair, and upgrade in-space missions of all sizes, whether to extend the life of expensive facilities or to replace outworn or obsolete onboard systems as was demonstrated so effectively by the Hubble Space Telescope program. In parallel with these challenges to future major space astronomy missions, the capabilities of in-space robotic systems and the goals for human space flight in the 2020s and 2030s offer opportunities for achieving the most exciting science goals of the early 21st Century. In this paper, we summarize the history of concepts for human operations beyond the immediate vicinity of the Earth, the importance of very large apertures for scientific discovery, and current capabilities and future developments in robot- and astronaut-enabled servicing and assembly.
Document ID
Document Type
Accepted Manuscript (Version with final changes)
External Source(s)
Harley Thronson (Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Maryland, United States)
Bradley M. Peterson (Space Telescope Science Institute Baltimore, Maryland, United States)
Matthew Greenhouse (Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Maryland, United States)
Howard MacEwen (Reviresco LLC Annandale, VA, United States)
Rudranarayan Mukherjee (Jet Propulsion Lab La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States)
Ronald Polidan (Polidan Science Systems & Technologies, LLC Terrebonne, OR, United States)
Benjamin Reed (Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Maryland, United States)
Nicholas Siegler (Jet Propulsion Lab La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States)
Hsiao Smith (Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Maryland, United States)
Date Acquired
August 10, 2018
Publication Date
September 5, 2017
Publication Information
Publication: UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts VIII
Volume: 10398
ISSN: 0277-786X
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
SPIE Engineering + Applications(San Diego, CA)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Use by or on behalf of the US Gov. Permitted.
Hubble Space Telescope
space servicing
space assembly
Human space flight

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