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Proposal for a remotely manned space stationThe United States is in trouble in space. The costs of the proposed Space Station Freedom have grown beyond reach, and the present design is obsolete. The trouble has come from imagining that there are only two alternatives: manned vs. unmanned. Both choices have led us into designs that do not appear to be practical. On one side, the United States simply does not possess the robotic technology needed to operate or assemble a sophisticated unmanned space station. On the other side, the manned designs that are now under way seem far too costly and dangerous, with all of its thousands of extravehicular activity (EVA) hours. More would be accomplished at far less cost by proceeding in a different way. The design of a space station made of modular, Erector Set-like parts is proposed which is to be assembled using earth-based remotely-controlled binary-tree telerobots. Earth-based workers could be trained to build the station in space using simulators. A small preassembled spacecraft would be launched with a few telerobots, and then, telerobots could be ferried into orbit along with stocks of additional parts. Trained terrestrial workers would remotely assemble a larger station, and materials for additional power and life support systems could be launched. Finally, human scientists and explorers could be sent to the space station. Other aspects of such a space station program are discussed.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Minsky, Marvin
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1990
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Lewis Research Center, Vision-21: Space Travel for the Next Millennium
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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